The Dogs (2013)

Helen Mort

Oxford English Dictionary (OED) Links Off

Some mornings, waking up between the sandy whippet
and the black – their breathing as slow as mine,
their eyes more sorrowful – I remind myself I’m not a dog.

It’s not acceptable to taste the grass or roll in moss until
I’m musked with it. There are deer in the woods I’ll never see.
My thirst discriminates. It does not have me bend

my grateful head to puddles, gutters, hollows
in the rock. I don’t track rabbits in my sleep.
I’ll not know love like theirs, observed in mute proximity

and if I sometimes sit bolt upright after dark, sensing
a movement in the yard, it’s only that I’ve learned
a little of their vigilance. I’m not like them:

one night I’ll set off past the meadow, down
behind the beck, beyond the blunt profile of Silver Howe
and nobody will call me back.