The Dog


Mortars were blowing gobbets out of the ground

Behind me, and off my left shoulder, near the moon,

Rifles were flashing with muted pops.

I flogged the jeep, shrilling through the rutted mire,

Flying out through twilight tunnels

Lined with faces lifted from the evening meal,

Silhouettes in doorways,

Sullen faces flicked by cooking fires.


The dog. . . He came from the bushes,

Running suddenly, low to the ground

Under the wheels, jarring the jeep once twice,

And the eyes,



Decades have dulled the mortars

And stamped out the bang of rifles

And blanched the faces of people

Glowering beside their fires.

But the dog never dims. That dying dog. . .

Still screaming and screaming behind me in the roadway.


October 11, 1992