Dog Heart

by Noel Crook


He lies still, breath clouding the slate tiles

between his paws. Only the occasional twitch of an ear

mars his perfect vigil. He has grown old

following the girl, his only lamb; has watched her


since a diaper rustled at her thighs.

Now she is gone all day

and he waits for her here by the door.

He has contemplated the demise of the mailman,


who moves too close when he hands her packages;

has dreamed the warm brine of the bus driver’s blood.

Do not misjudge this old dog—

beneath dull fur and steepled bones of his ribs


runs the keen rush of valve to ventricle,

the old thrill of a bared tooth.