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Bread Alone
Gale Acuff


After I bury my dog I believe
in God. It isnít easy, so it is.
Iím on my knees at Caesarís grave. My face
is wet with sweat and tears. He didnít just
die, he was killed. He wasnít just killed, he
was hit by a car and run over so
many times he looked like a ragged old
rug when I found him this morning. I stepped
out on the porch, expecting to see him
lying there, waiting for me, rising then
kowtowing 'til I reach to pet him and

then run from him to get him on his feet
and forget that heís a dog and Iím a
human, or whatever he thinks I am
and whatever he thinks he is, if he
thinksóI think so. Anyway, I can think
for both of us. Then I jump from the porch

in to the side yard and he follows and
leaps at me, so I pick up a stick or
rock or fallen apple and hold it up
for him to see, then reach back and throw it
as far as I can, and heís away with
the arcing of my arm, moving so fast
to track down and mouth what I release of

me, I guess it is. That was yesterday
and every day since he was a pup and
could run without falling. To see him dead
in the double yellow lines of the road
in front of our house makes me feel that God
is telling me to stay and obey. But

the same voice I didnít hear, the one loud
with the sight of my mutilated friend,
calls me to the duty of wading in
-to the road to bring Caesar back. Itís not
difficult until I get thereóI peel
him from the black top and heís still one piece
and most of the bloodís already dried and
though his eyes are open heís not looking
at me. He must be looking at God but

I canít see Him except in my dead friend
and even then Heís invisible and
even then I can describe Him but I
donít dare, or thereís too much brightness blending
with everything Iíve ever seen before.

© by Gale Acuff
Used with the author's permission.

Gale Acuff† is the author of three books of poetry--Buffalo Nickel†(BrickHouse, 2004),†The Weight of the World†(BrickHouse, 2006), and†The Story of My Lives†(BrickHouse, 2009). Currently teaching at his eighth university in the People's Republic of China, he enjoys sharing his love for English-language literature with Chinese university students. Gale finds that being away from home makes it easier to write about his experiences in the U.S., especially his boyhood days. He says, "I think that effective writing often requires some distance in order to evoke familiarity and recreate intimacy."

Post New Comment:
Everyone who is a pet owner knows this heartache. It is a worthy topic and a tribute.
Posted 09/24/2014 07:51 AM
How absolutely beautiful!
Posted 09/24/2014 07:50 AM
Though a heartbreaking subject, the poem is beautiful.
Posted 09/24/2014 07:17 AM

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