by Karen Jobst

    Just off-center of her crown
    was a wound,
    a ration of scar tissue
    we'd run our fingers over
    whenever we called her
    to sit, or to go fetch
    a chew from across
    the floor.

    She'd been found down by the creek.
    Her oversize paws immersed
    in its bed, her snout ribboned with mud.
    She wormed her way
    into our daily order,
    throwing her shadow
    with ours as we walked
    from room to room,
    or lying up against
    the wall for long
    stretches, her eyes
    halfway open as we drifted by.
    What road she came on,
    her habits with an old
    master remained vague.
    Though someone taught
    her to shake, to hold her
    paw out as a gratuity
    or a screen
    against what strikes
    without warning,
    the meager days.

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