Monday, December 14, 2009

The Dog Exercising Machine

Age and bad knees dictate
That I am inside the cab of the truck
with a long, green leash
as Katie runs close by
every morning,
in rain, snow and sunshine.

For seven years
she has run in earnest,
her tongue along her cheek,
ears scanning, sweeping
and swivel left and right
listening for something ahead
or behind
as she gallops, trots,
saunters or paces
at my side.

Her strong back legs -
the rounded, hard, muscle under
the shiny, black coat
push her along.
Now, ears are back over her head -
the leathery tips almost touching
as her back legs –
like a rabbit or race horse
work in time
driving her faster.

Sometimes in the dark,
sometimes, just as the sun is coming up,
but always in the morning,
when the smells
of the deer and elk
are still fresh in the grass
and the berry bushes
conceal a quail
along the fence.

I love to see her run. I love to hear her run.
I can hear the jangle jangle of her tags on her collar --
her ears flap against her head.
her breathing
a snort or puff
as her strong, wide paws hit their mark
ker-plop, ker-plop.
Nails dig into the ground
little tufts of grass and dirt, flying.

When the snow is here
her feet beat their rhythm
in the icy stuff.
Crunch, crunch, crunch,
the first marks in the snow
-- the marks, in line with the truck's tracks,
still there
the next morning
on her run.

I wonder
how all those legs and feet work
in synchronization
as she concentrates on her task
or has her eye
on something ahead
that she has got to get to

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