For a long time it was mostly my
tail that you tried to read.
It does give me away—the feeling
comes like a shiver and sometimes
winds my tail up sloppy like a drunk.
But now after nine years
you also understand when you have
sad eyes and I can taste ocean
on your face, I turn my head to the left.
Just a little, just to enough to say,
I’m worried. Please tell me—
can I help? What can I do?
I see sad eyes and smell ocean now
while you hold that small box.
And you also half-bark.
Many half-barks, really, and a
long deep breath to catch up
while you wipe your eyes.
(Did you forget that I can
do that so much better?)
I look down and left, then
gaze up at you from beneath my
brow. Thank goodness my tail is
low and still.
It’s time for me to lean my
side into you and let you
scratch my head.
Time to climb up on the bed
where the light of the moon
shines on your wet face
and promises that a different day
will come if we only stay close,
you and me.
Studies reveal that dogs consistently turn
their heads to the left when they see images
of sad or fearful people. Newsweek, 6/21/18.