We wake from the wheezes of the old German Shepherd
whining outside our apartment window. Every limped
step she takes in the summer-dry grass inflicts panted
breaths: a suffer, suffer, suffer until she lowers her head.
Our legs rest twined like the vines of my childhood
home—an ivy quick to grow, yet slow to wrap its neck
around wooden fences. The dog’s owner above us
does not flinch, does not open his door, does not
say, as the landlord yesterday did, The best thing
for that dog is a bullet in the head. So, you unfurl
your limbs from mine and head into the thick-dark
of an approaching dawn to offer a morning
pet on her neck, slip a Good girl, Nala into the fold
of her ear, then climb back to bed. We doze in silence,
in soft snores. We sleep through the sunrise: a howling
white that mounts the horizon as a headstone.