Phillip B. Williams: Poet of the Week
A Rottweiler is the shadow of an angel of vengeance.
The dog blows out a star’s light while scratching
its ribs. It augers the fallen leaves like tarot, decodes
the hot scales of a salamander as it burns through
a cave’s void. It watches the just-born children
like watching a dream it cannot wake from. When it claws its own grave in a junkyard to the voice of Bessie Smith tumbling from a transistor radio, it stays for good.
There is a pack of them, ravaged, made savage
by cage and raw meat, BB gun pellets shot
into their faces till the red ponds of their wounds
spill down. The cold ovals of metal chain interlock
jowls against the onyx fur of dogs stolen
from their owners. Howls scar the night. Some beasts
bite when fear tells them to. They destroy other dogs
and the angel of their shadows looks away.
In their old age, where do fighting dogs go? Where
rest their abused bodies made four-legged hauntings?
These precise lovers forced into vicious servitude,
their eyes rejecting moonlight, shake at first when held,
having not known such softness. Bathed and brushed
they whimper, are hushed. Softly, they begin to snore.