Dog ran off smiling

Gail Ingram 2013

Dog ran off smiling.
Dog they called, but their arms were filled
with groceries.

Dog stayed away all day.
At night they gathered around
the screen and saw their faces
like ghosts looking out.

It’s all right they said, pointing,
SPCA’s found him, see.
Elbows nudged each other
like sticks Dog caught
in the marram grass.

Next day they drove
to the SPCA.
A woman with a face that shut
when she saw them, said
come this way.

She wore a pink and blue cardigan
that was pilled.
A car hit him, she said.

A sound escaped
from their mouths
like overspun wool.
It curled away
over the buildings
into the sky.

The pink and blue lady
twisted her hands
It’s a shock, I know she said.

They took Dog home in the boot
but felt him between them
on the front seat
tongue-out smiling.