Tonight, as my dog, Strider,
walks me through the silent shadows,
I sense a dull pain effusing from the stones,
a weird sensation of unnatural old cold
rising through the soles of my boots,
seeping through the marrow of my leg bones,
and weighing me down
like a frozen skeletal rider.
The air is not uncomfortable,
but the ache that I experience is.
It is cold, oh, so,
cold and horrible.
My friend, my only companion,
leads me onward to that junction
in the road
that I may release him
and let him run without harm,
It is just ahead and
around the bend
where the graveyard,
the fenced cemetery ends
and the open fields begin.
“Slow down, boy,” I grunt.
“We’ll get there soon enough,
Ain’t no rabbits out tonight anyway.”
He huffs and strains against the chain.
I puff, short of breath and
have a feeling of not being there,
still, I am completely aware
of that which surrounds me,
to that which I am inextricably linked,
my environment within and without me'
Yet, somehow events seem kinked.
It is a gloomy night, but I do not fear,
for my dog can her
that which I can not,
and I depend upon his senses
for my protection;
this night of expectation,
I am far from the traveled lands
of my own,
We reach the point of release
and I command my friend to halt
so that I can unclip his collar from the leash.
He is off.
I stand quiet in the night, listening.
It seems a gentle late October evening.
I hear the rustling of the dried oak
and hickory leaves that my friend pads through.
The breeze cause decaying branches
to rattle against each other, too.
Far away, a lonely coyote calls once,
The moon is just a thin crescent
low in the western sky,
which leads me to believe
that the coyote
has not that much for to cry.
Strider barks, not in that inquisitive,
“What the hell is this?” way,
but frantically and frenetically
as if at bay.
I turn in the direction of his sound
and barely see
his running form back to me.
“What is it, boy?” I ask.
His answer is the shaking of his body
against my knee.
I kneel down and hug him.
He still shakes, then gives a little whine
taking me to task
for not being there for him,
he knows he's mine
and I am his chap.
I sit down Indian style
and Strider crawls onto my lap.
This night has no shadows now.