Sounds gather in the dusk.
His head goes up in askance at a tone
I cannot hear. He sniffs, and I wonder
if there’s some alien creature close
that I can neither smell nor know to fear.
I scratch him then. His look is like a laugh.
I ask, if we have the necessity of ears
why are they not large, and floppy,
like my dog’s? Something we did wrong?
Some moral error
which left us with these useless lobes,
the requirement for a trumpet’s horn
to make out the subtleties of a cricket’s call,
those neighbors’ altercations, though dulled
by walls, or that hapless music
of the distant spheres?
Perhaps that’s the reason we have dogs,
to hear for us
those calls we would otherwise have missed,
the dangers of sound and smell.
At conference, full of fervor, we reviewed
neuronal numbers in dogs and people,
discernments as a perfume’s delight,
meat’s decay, the capabilities of a middle ear.
And all in all our canine companions have us beat,
qualities for which we have
but a questionable smile
and the gift of tongues instead of barks