Asleep on opposite sides of the room,

then alert.

Overwhelmed. As if dying. As if alone.

Awakened by an explosion of sound

as if the alarm had been set off

by an alien intruder.

And then there is Jake

traipsing from one side to the other

tail between his legs

walks back and forth

peers, stops, peers

with that empathetic look. ( Defines the term. )

Can’t you hear, he is saying.

Isn’t that Popocatepetl erupting,

exploding in the kitchen?

Not at all like the other dog

who only wants to play.

What’s his name? Sancho?

Sancho Panza.

Awakening in the middle of the night

Hard to remember.


Strange time to get another dog:

Continuous discussions, arguments,

size, age, breed.

From the puppy cage, his barks

fill the house. It’s like an air raid.

All this, so Jake

will have a friend, a companion,

so “we” can go out for a couple of hours,

so “he” won’t be alone, won’t be lonely,

like a flower by itself in the middle of a field.

Right now Jake doesn’t think so.

The puppy wants to play,

but Jake growls, does his best to stay away,

stares at Sancho

like he’s an old toy that ought to be tossed,

stares at me with his usual

What the hell are you trying to do? (i.e. disturbing my peace)

“Don’t ask me,” I say. “My wife

is the one who thinks it’s what you need.”

In the mean-while his time

is taken up taking back the toys and the trove of bones

the little one has hungrily acquired.

(Out of the mouths of babes come cries of protest.)

I shrug. “Do what you want, Jake,

whatever you want. With all this noise I’m not going

to last long, maybe not even ‘til morning.”