You and That Old Dog
He was old when you found him,
probably six or seven, scuttling by the pier,
scrounging for food, a threadbare Catahoula
belonging to no one, who lived beneath
some old crates and newspapers when he could.
Sometimes, longshoremen would chase him
off, but you kept your eyes out for him
when you docked. Made sure to have an extra
sandwich. The dog seemed to sense a friend.
He would roll over the rough planks on the pier
as soon as he saw you, his feet dancing in the air,
or curling in on himself like the shrimp
you’d brought in from the days’ catch.
He’d gobble down the sandwich like a last meal—
for him, maybe it always seemed like the last meal.
When you brought him home, I fell in love
with his goofy smile, his dinged-up nose,
his one blue eye one brown—and if he loved you,
it was nothing to his love for me—how he minced
as he walked by, dainty as an old lady at tea,
so careful never to knock anything over in the house.
How he begged me for a scratch, how he fetched
anything I tossed, even garbage into the can.
If you noticed his changing loyalties, you didn’t
seem to mind. I wondered, sometimes,
if you brought Boudreaux home to be kind
to the dog, or really to me, to give me something
to fuss over after I lost the baby—and my mind.