The Dog on Ground-Hog’s Day

We're out the front door.
The sky is clear.
He sees his shadow,
But reads nothing into that,
No early spring, no late winter,
Sees only his place in the day
And the stretch of sidewalk to the corner.

Part boarder,
Part collie,
Part astute sharp-nosed observer of the passing scene
And whatever's been left behind,
He trots ahead, stopping to inhale every scent and aroma,
To partake of every stink,
Every unspeakably eloquent stench

"Come on, now. Come on, let's go."
The acute feeling coursing through my being–
"I said let's go."–
Comes not from the coupling of senses
With the low-down odors
Rising from lawn, flowerbed, shrub, and verge.

No. Time is wasting.
The walk is punctuated by full stops.
The dog pauses, lowers his frosted muzzle, inhales, inhales some more.
Taking in the bouquet of a medley of canine urines,
Finely balanced, well aged.
He considers his response,
Offered with precision to a tuft of winter grass,
Shifts so he can raise his right leg–
No–now turns to spray from his left.
Or maybe right is better.
He's done, and we move on.

The dog shambles on,
Rounding the next-to-last corner home.
Ah–a favorite patch of dirt.
He delicately lifts a chunk,
Trots on, briefly peruses a half-eaten apple,
The only piece of sidewalk fruit I see him pass up.
I wonder what sense of refinement or secret knowledge of produce
Causes him to forego this treat.
(Did it not pass his smell test?)

We round that last corner.
He sees his shadow and maybe indoor shade ahead.
I see my afternoon stretching before me,
Time, seasonless, before me,
And look for my place in it,
Time wasting.

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