Three days dead, I don’t know if the dog’s coat stiff
as lichen, is gray-flecked with age or just frost. His
companion crawls beneath a juniper, unsure
if I’m like the coyotes run off during the night
or the cars that menace every time she slinks near.
I crouch beside the frozen body, loop a rope in my
hand and whistle for the bitch, she runs to her
mate, rolls onto her back. I rub both dogs, softly
murmuring “now, now”, as she whines. I slip
the tether on, tighten the knot.
When I stand she pulls back once as I start
away, presses her body to my leg
as a truck passes near, showering us
in diesel fumes and a quick glimpse of doom.