Hunched, obsidian-eyed, and inches
from the curb—one paw gone, the other
tight as a clasp—
in little rasps. Why isn't he shaking,
crawling beneath the settled leaves,
or moving toward
the gutter, where
it's quiet under
the sidewalk's shadow? Cars keep missing
him. I think a rock will do.
A skull that small
will crack. Nothing
this thought, or in the five-pound block
of cement I find, imagine is
a stone. To let
him live seems coldly
But when I'm ready I can't find him;
I jump at stirring leaves; I pass
a shadow, no,
a flat, gray thing
which the wind rustles
and seems to animate again.
I place the block back on the ground.
It's for the best—
this instinct teased,
then put to rest.