Why are you bringing that with us?
his eyes inquire as I pick up after him.
I peel the plastic bag from my wrist
and pull the end into a knot.
Why don’t we leave it?
He flicks his tail from question to exclamation
and back again.
We walk on.
I hold the sack in one hand, our tether in the other.
He trots ahead, sniffing up trees, along patches of grass.
How could he possibly understand
The reasons I don’t just leave that behind?
There are proper ways to dispose of things.
I startle myself with an odd sense of pride.
Pride about carrying shit with me, not leaving it behind.
When I do let it fall- finally,
into the cylindrical receptacle
beside a bus stop on Hawthorne,
He is busy lifting a leg across the sidewalk,
Our tether taut,
On some low shrubs.
His eyes meet mine.
Ready? Let’s go!
He is bounding now.
His body undulating and otter-like
As we tear down the sidewalk,
Take corners swiftly
And plunge into our tree-lush neighborhood.
He pulls me into the rose garden.
Chase me! Get me!
He chomps at the leash and bows.
I unhook him and we run
After each other
Around the rose bushes
Drooping with roses.
I got you! Come get me!
We find one another
And then he rolls on his back
On the fuchsia petals that dot the grass
And I rub his belly because we are both empty
And there is nothing that needs holding on to.
- Daphne Jenkins