You toss the Alpo on the seat
and turn to the pickup with the dog in the bed.
The dog watches you with calm, interested eyes.
The dog is friendly -- like your dog.
As a dog person you know the spot,
along the base of the skull and behind the ears,
where your fingers would go if you let them.
The dog might bite.
That doesn't worry you except
that it might be bad for the dog.
And it's not your dog.
You drive off with your dog food
and the dog can still smell you:
A strange man with just a bit
of another dog's poo stuck to his sole.
You stash the game under your seat
and pull your Honda 250 out into traffic.
A truck pulls up beside you
with a chain-link cage in the back.
The cat watches you with calm, interested eyes.
You've never been so close to an animal
that is beautiful beyond bearing.
The tiger rubs against the wire,
it's fur looks soft.