Slow Dog

Late at night, only ever late at night, in the distance,
in the dark, there is an old guy with his old dog. Long-haired, big,
old dog--moves slow, walks slow, patient
and slow, just like the old guy. Checks out every-
thing, half by habit. Often stops,
dead still, head up, as if waiting, as if
trying to remember. Some
thing--never quite catches it, never seems to get a piece of it--maybe
listening, maybe reading shadows in the night. Doubt it. Turns
to look up at the old guy, frequently,
slow. Turns
to look right in my eyes, sees
nothing. Turns back, slowly, waits.

The old guy is tethered by a brown strap, leather, hanging there
in a parabolic arc, over to the big,
old dog. Rusty-colored, thinking dog, remember-
ing. Maybe not remembering. Maybe still
embedding deeper into memory dark, re-
peated moments--always by the same route, always by the
same route, always at the same time. Always tethered.
Always quiet. Sometimes, there is rain.

I start thinking of another old dog, late nights, halting,
trembling, feeble old dog, apologetic,
senile, smelly old
dog, killed
in the end. Used to think about it, useless
to think about it, point-
less, now, point
taken and I ask, how old is this slow dog? Se-
ven. Wait. Take a closer look. Something not


with all my smug assumptions, with all my glib projections--
pay attention--with my crude extrapolations. All
slow dogs are not the same slow dog. All night walks
do not begin and end at the same
point for the same reasons. This slow and

halting dog is not infirm, has not
been crippled by too many years. This tethered
man is young, just like the dog. And,
this slow and

halting dog is marking steps, is counting out the mid-
nights, waiting, even as it wanders slow. Waiting
for the fading,
halting man to put himself to sleep. Point-
less to think about it, useless
to wonder why. Point
taken. Walk on, slow.
Wait for the rain.

JDP 97/02

Copyright John D Porter © 1997

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