First he runs ahead, then stops,
turns his head and peers back,
as if to say, “What’s up? You still there?
See, I’m ready to climb this road
even if it stretches up as far as the sky,”
then glancing out across the stony brook,
“and if you like we can ford this stream
to the trail on the other side.”
But then, having observed that I am trudging along
he zooms out to the next bend,
stops, and looks again, as if to be sure
I have not fallen, or sat down
on some convenient log beside the path.
Later we change places, me walking
briskly, making our way back the way we came.
The question as to who is more tired
may be felt, but only hesitantly expressed,
and who is to admit
that these trails are just too much for a man my age?
Back at the house, I am sure
my wife must be waiting, getting irritated,
he slouching now, falling behind,
tail couched between his legs,
and, I think telepathically, he says,
“It is hot, you know.
You sweat; I can only pant.
Look at my tongue. It is halfway down to the ground;
as if that does any good.”
So we stop,
look at each other. Perhaps a little empathy
will help. He does have a lot of hair.
And I am practically bald. I shrug.
I think he shrugs back.
We’d better move on.
Before it rains.