Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2015  v14n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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San Antonio Dogs

Dear Happiness: Tonight a trio of dogs
sat at the crosswalk waiting for the light to change.
Red. I stopped. They trotted across the street, two mottled mutts
and a Chihuahua whose legs spun like wheels to keep up.
Right across San Pedro and down the sidewalk,
their tails up, noses pointed toward purpose. Dear Happiness:
I never cared for dogs, but they’re everywhere here.
When I miss my mother, who was once the mother
of all happiness, I see dogs. San Antonio dogs.
The one in Olmos Basin, a scrappy mix of ribs and hunger
hurrying across the road. Or the stray I found panting
in a shred of shade under an agave in whose muddy eyes
spun the tires of the Buick LeSabre from the summer vacation
when my mother nearly drove us into the lake. Dear Happiness:
What laughter when flecked with mud! Or so it once was,
when laughter was easy. More often now, I drive Frio Avenue
to work. Not that there’s not happiness in high tension
wires, in bouncing over the tracks by the building
with Monterrey Lounge faded on bricks, where knotted curtains
in wide-open windows swing. Where, on the roof
of the garage, a bullish dog rushes out to the rusted edge
barking down onto the street. He runs so fast, I fear
he’s not going to stop. One day when that dog wasn’t there
I circled the block, waited at the curb,
but vacancy jabbed sharper than his barks. How thin
the air felt without him guarding the roofline, without his body,
dirty white, like tissues my mother used to tuck into her Sunday purse.  end  

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