My Trip To The Store

One Saturday morning,
a beautiful sunshiny day,
on a quick errand to the store,
the red light delaying me,
I spot an immature dog of mixed breed,
large, clownish with gangly legs
and too-big feet, with puppy eyes
still naïve and trusting,
rummaging in the street gutter for
discarded McDonald’s bags
with their escaped French fries.
The light turns.
I drive on.
The dog throws me a look,
a look of lost bewilderment,
a haunting look.

Errand accomplished,
on the return trip home,
the same red light catches me.
I see the young dog of mixed breed,
lying still, lying dead in the gutter,
his eyes no longer trusting.
A light rain begins falling,
a sprinkling of sporadic large drops.
The poet in me wonders if
the Heavens are presaging the tears
to be shed by some young child
upon learning what fate has befallen
this humble, innocent creature,
genuine tears of heartfelt sorrow
for the years of love and affection
that this dog would now never give,
would now never receive.

The car behind me honks its horn.
The light has turned green, and
I am delaying people who are in a hurry.
I drive on,
looking past the dead young dog,
for life goes on…

Harry Edward Gilleland      03.16.03