Perihelion: An Online Journal of Poetry and Mayhem
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Hayan Charara

STARVED DOGS EATING SNOW

In a field without tracks
a pack of starved dogs

eating snow,
all mutts with knobs of spine

and sharp protruding ribs.
I asked the dogs

How did you get here?
Maybe they’d been there

so long
the falling snow gradually

filled up their footprints,
a small triumph

of gravity over the diminishing weight
of their bodies.

They kept to their feeding
as if snow were chickens

and I could not tell
any difference

between a salivating dog
or a dog with melted snow

dripping from its muzzle.
In the morning I was grateful

the dogs in the dream
did not bark,

bite, or look up.
The day before coming home

I drove past
a dog lying on its stomach

in the middle of the road
gasping for air and from its mouth

gurgled the white foam
of thirst mixed with the red

of its doom and unease argued
in my gut over the dignity

of a dog and if it were mine
what would I do and shouldn’t

the man or woman who ran over
the dog and not me

be asking these questions?
A while later I drove back

but someone by then
had carried the dog

to the curb and covered it
with a towel

for it was summer, hot
and muggy, and while

among flies and fleas
there is no such thing

as regret, there is
among men and women.