Number 52

By Patrick Lawler, June 2009, Updated February 2015

Dead dogs feed the vultures
Up and down NC route 39
Numbered hounds
Cast out once they’re too slow
To run down a deer with the pack
Wandering through shrinking forests and backyards
Too tired and weak to defend themselves against a poodle
One Saturday a shivering bag of bones crawled onto our land
Must’ve heard our dogs and smelled their food
We let him eat and drink all he could
Once full he even managed to wag his tail
Then number 52 fell dead in our front yard
My wife tried to wash the painted number off the poor old boy
There’s no dignity without a name
So now Sammy lies buried out front
Our dogs run and play around him all the time
And Old Leon sleeps right on top of Sammy
As if to make sure he’s not shivering alone anymore.

Article first appeared in The Bark, Issue 53: Mar/Apr 2009