After many wet, cold miles in fog-dense woods yesterday, still today at walk’s beginning he’s coiled like a spring, jaunty-ended and giggling, seeming not more than five years old though he’s twice that and gray-muzzled, bones weakening but muscle still beefcake and shining joy in every iridescent black hair.
Here, a freshwater clam shell, raccoon-moved to woods’ edge. Here, unequivocal adoration, uncomplicated by considerations of anything but pack, forward motion, comfort, snacks, pleasure, loyalty. Here, winterberry, dressed shockingly and suddenly for the holiday. Here, elaborate and ancient guardianship. Here, a dead pheasant, ripe and illicit.
The stick I throw gets stuck in a tree. I did it again, my love, I tell him. Because that’s just how much I suck. He prances and laughs. I find another stick, throw it better this time; he tears after it, fierce delight vibrant, and that’s what love is.