by Larry Strattner

Chewy is an old dog. His face is mostly white. He has a hard time on the stairs. He takes his treats reflectively. We walk down a leafy street. He smells the poles and trees. If someone of interest has passed by, he sniffs them out and pees.

How long, I wonder, will he live? He's given almost all he has.

All we who live, for good or ill, are cursed with our morbidity. It takes a dog who lives in Now to embrace a life of probity. I only hope to learn from him and stay forever free.

He casts a steady, happy eye on garbage heap and clear blue sky; loves the world, both low and high. I mimic his long contented sigh in comfortable repose. I seek to know the greater world by rolling its scent inside my nose.

Chewy likes his donut holes. I always get a bag for him. We try to eat responsibly, but Chewy hates austerity. He bolts one down. How can he taste? He gets that look upon his face. He's so damn old I cannot stop. I know the doughty donut cops would bust me for abusing him but we're innocent I tell myself, committing all our reckless sins.

The sweet orbs gone, we both relax. He searches for sugar in the bag. I snatch it up before he chews. A slobbery tongue licks my hand. We slip into a promised land. A land which only Chewy knows. He takes me with him when he goes.