A DOG’S LIFE

Befriending him would have not cost a penny.
The price of admission into his world
just an instinct to be
a child of compassion,
all laws of the universe
beginning and ending
with the soft pats on his head
and his constant companionship,
walking side by side with us.

Such may have been his life.
A short, uneventful one.
I say uneventful
because his nature’s truth
is a shared community
among his always curious
and unprejudiced brethren.

They would have howled in
anonymous mourning
while the others among us
cursed at it as bad omen,
now that night had set
and not even one needed to
retire for the day
with someone else’s burden.
Then the corollary of a species in decline
discarded death of the one
absolutely in thrall of our conscious
need to be good to him.

****

It’s a surprise
he went like he was
never wanted by this world.
Born an orphan,
gone like a leper.

Teeth gnashed in pain,
nostrils round and flared up at us,
crashed by some rotating wheels
that never stop for any mortal body
and hardly anticipating
that running across a seemingly empty road at night,
long before midnight’s coalition of excess,
would end with that most dreadful shriek of his kind,
a kind curating nightmares
about the base instincts of our like;
to hurt and leave,
to not even pause
and ponder the slow decay
and our casual obsession
with making life a sport
badgered by our nihilisms.

That stretch of the road
right before the school
where I spent eight formative years
of my own
was his safe haven.
The place he could always fall back on.
His humblest site for rest and dreaming
being under the tamarind tree,
outgrowing the green expanse
of the golf course
from where it sprouted forth,
like an all-comforting friend
or unaffiliated sibling.
That part made up his chosen family
among others like him.
Small, puny angels
who had yet to cross the first hurdle
of a year on earth.

****

My prayers are for the one
who possessed the good graces to put him on the side of the road,
on the spot
where he lived
and belonged
for most of his days.
I saw him collected atop a thin
plastic sheet.
The only refuge for him.

His rehabilitator must have felt the pain of his untimely end shoot up
in his spine,
the uproar of ants on his breathless body
and hovering glitches of flies,
would have been too much for him.
The facts of this life,
for him
unable to placate himself after this unlikely,
open burial,
must have broken his heart.
He would have loved the little one
even if on occasional encounters.
They may have walked together,
the little one’s pace
and stride always a little more animated
even on his worst days.
The big one’s stooping shoulders
and uncomfortable gait
marking even days without incident.

***

Without a name,
his last wishes existing in
forgetfulness
and knowing nothing of
how death is just a breadth away
from living consensus,
his body has disappeared.
Eaten in full by
the underground world
or reduced to nothing but bones
chewed by some other.

Such was his life.
Delivered to him
by none of our hands.
Taken from him
in the heat of the night
when corruption’s free will
overwhelms all creatures great and small.

***

And I’m just an observer.
However, his final shrieks
mark my mind’s nights
of restlessness.
Because I see life
as a cataclysm orchestrated by us
and my future forecast
is for all things innocent
to find a space
away from here.
Sleep, sleep,
little babies.
Don’t wake up
to face this world.
It has been sold to a lumpen
share.
Rest in peace then,
my darling companion
who could have been rescued by me
if only I knew
he would meet a dog’s death.






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