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Animal stories

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BLACK DOG IN MANALI

In this orchard village
of applies and marigolds
the temple bell sounds from fir mountains
and under my feet at the stained table
the black dog lies.
 
I give her one carress and she, having searched a lifetime,
at last finding her God, gazing with intent eyes,
at every dispensed glance, moves her tail,
forever hopeful of eternal love.
And, when I leave she follows
as if we had always been together,
heel to heel.
 
‘Black dog, do not come, for what can I give?
I am leaving in an aircraft.
Do not love me. Do not surrender.
See how the other street dogs,
tails tucked, run in fear.’
 
You come to the hotel door,
lie in wait for my future exit,
trusting the bond will last forever,
but the gardeners, on order, lift their brooms,
and you, whimpering, confused,
run crying up the road.

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