When one has lived a long time alone, one falls to poring upon a creature. . . .

— Galway Kinnell

Alone, I study the dog’s offering:
a wood thrush, one clean vee wedged out
of its spotted throat, talons curled
as if to grasp an invisible limb;
russet shoulders that don’t mind touch,
the riot of red on its head.

Alone with the animals:
if I stroke the cold thrush at table,
if I speak to his dead eyes,
who’s to say,
        Stop your disgusting behavior!
Who’s to turn away in bed?