Seeing Like My Dog

Sorry for all the poetry. I guess it's kind of like eating Oreos. Once you eat/write one you can't stop.

Seeing Like My Dog

Wikipedia tells me
that my dog--
Canis lupus familiaris--
"is a domesticated form
of the grey wolf."
Which is shocking to me
given the size of my dog.
Regardless, the animal behaviorists tell me
that there is something
in the hearts and minds and instincts
of Canis lupus familiaris
that finds me,
as a representative of Homo sapiens sapiens,
to be a marvel,
an astounding curiosity,
a miracle walking on earth.
I've observed this.
My dog sees me (and he's alone in this regard)
as utterly fascinating.
When I move or walk
he watches and follows,
joyous, in his eyes, about this inexplicable turn of events.
When I scratch my face
or stand in the bathroom shaving in the mirror
he looks on
as if he were gazing at cherubim dancing in the Holy of Holies.
When I make my coffee in the morning,
bleary-eyed, shuffling, and blowing my nose,
he tilts his head
gazing at this High Priest and these sacred rituals,
as if my measuring the grounds
or washing out the pot
has taken him to the streets of Zion.
Whatever I do draws from him
(and he's alone in this regard)
no commentary, judgment or snicker.
Only happy attention and contemplation,
like a prayer.
My simple existence
his mindfulness and mantra.

And I find myself pleading
that I might come to see this life--
like that leaf hanging,
right there, red
with sunshine upon it--
and you beside me,
especially you,
in our shared banal, quotidian moment,
standing next to me in Aisle 6 as you buy SpaghettiOs for your children at Walmart--
that I might come to see you,
each one of you,
here with me in Aisle 6, on this street of Zion,
to see you finally
as this dog
sitting at my feet
sees me.

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One thought on “Seeing Like My Dog”

  1. Richard, you capture, wonderfully, the good fortune of those of us who have one of these loyal admirers in the house! Your poem reminded me of an article on my blog, "A Dog's View of Suffering," that may interest your readers.

    It's the story of the deep struggle of a couple's attempt to understand why God has allowed both miraculous healing and unhealed Lupus in their lives. As a senior religion writer, I'd welcome conversation with your community!

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