Of a certainty the man who can see all creatures in himself, himself in all creatures knows no sorrow.” The Upanishads

His fur is ruthenium gray,

lanced with stripes of silver.

He bears his musculature on erect legs

knowing not how to slouch or hide his true self.

The eyes, also gray, with sunburst yellow

are hooded by sad lids,

yet there is no fear.

The fur and skin about the face

in a fury of furrow and folds

hang majestically in a joyful dewlap.

Ears project sideways, level, traversing outward

then fold down in little awnings under the rain.

He walks on tendons protruding

like Rodin’s Achilles.

Muscles burst from his chest and thighs

as he rises up to greet me.

With rest he meditates like the dawn.

With sound his frame tenses to the faintest octaves.

The broad, square snout consumes his fact-finding

sensitive to those deviant and renegade scents,

yet wallowing in the spacious arms of familiar smells,

never disgusted or deterred

by the array that line collection stalls in his memory

like upright stacks of colored crayons.

He battles the army hidden around him

with curiosity.

Eyes focusing their limited gaze as he prances

on padded paws

reminiscent of ape’s palms.

A stump-tail amputated at birth

tells the story of his fortune and dreams.

He sees the snow outside

as he gnaws on the calloused rawhide.

The door opens.

Clusters of snow add silver to his coat.

He elevates his tongue to a falling snowflake

as the icy drop and his image both dissolve.