black dogs

black dogs charge me in the morning
while i hang a load of laundry on the line.
in sunrising light they dash across the lawn without a sound.
i see them for a moment from the corners of my eyes,
but when i turn to meet them, they are gone.

black dogs charge me in the evening
while i am drinking strong, dark coffee and sitting in my chair,
reading strong, dark words from heavy books, black dogs beside me for a moment,
never staying long enough to show me what they want.
they never bark or howl or whine.
they make no noise at all.

black dogs charge me at night while i sleep tangled in my sheets,
sweating and dreaming of empty leashes and crowded rooms,
of women wearing scarves tied across their eyes,
carrying glasses of iced tea along sidewalks teeming with black dogs, black dogs,
black dogs with mouths open, black dogs with tongues red, teeth white.

(Copyright 2023 by Tetman Callis.)

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