A golden retriever slips into the scene
carrying a lime green tennis ball
in his mouth. He trots the beach, tail waving,
waiting for someone to wrestle the ball
away from him. He wants to run.
He wants to swim out into deep water
to where the ducks float, to make them rise up
in a loud-voiced thrashing of wings.
He wants to shake out his heavy coat and hear
the squealing of children. The sun makes him
crazy with happiness. The same god
that paints peacock feathers and lets
a goldfinch ride a single swaying stem
shapes his heart. A man throws a ball
out into the water; the dog goes after it,
not stopping to wonder if he can swim.
This poem first appear in Common Ground Review.
Used here with the author’s permission.