Cool A.M., cars creep Ventura Avenue.
Even the hummingbirds pause to perch
The branches of the lemon tree. Bird
Songs dominate the Saturday morning air
This late September in Beth’s backyard.
Naya, a German Shepherd, keeps her eye on me
While searching the ground for bark
Or whatever she can find for me to toss,
So she can fetch and chew and play.
This California living is a dog’s life for sure,
Snapping jaws at whatever flies by,
Crashed out, eating grass, ears and eyes
Tuned to all movement—life.
Santa Cruz looms from the mist
On the channel, volcanic eruption
Of the watery plain, as the woodpecker hammers
At the palm tree behind me possessed
As Naya tuned to my hand and pulling rocks
From the patio floor, digging up
Sticks and stones for me to throw.
She stares from the other side of the planter,
Dried frond hanging from her mouth—eyes intense—
A wolf in the yard. I spell “cookie”
And she knows what I mean. Goof-ball queen,
Her pant is a whisper, a tease, a gentle
Prod, more than a suggestion, a warning,
Soon followed by a bark, a jump,
A determined nuzzle and nudge—
Come on, pick it up, let’s play!
Now the sun is full up, noon,
Already hot outside, time to move
To the shade. This dog’s life is a god’s
Life, naked in the tropical air
Of discovery—no worries, no agenda—
Vacation. Time to celebrate the trip:
The sun, the sand, the water
Bowl, and heat—birds and sticks and beer.
Time to chew the fat of the hour,
Scratch and nap, romp and howl and run
The beaches till we drop like dogs.