The men stopped their truck
and sprung from it when they saw me
walking near the underpass.
They crossed the road
straight towards me. My ears thudded
from the argument that set me
out there, and it was black
out by then. I just wanted to go home.
The men from the truck looked tough
but I didn’t want to run.
They walked behind me,
all of us breathing hard
and stomping. I felt them
gaining until they were upon me.
Then they ran past
to a pool of light. To a lump of blood
and fur. I saw something glint
and collected it, turned back to give them
a collar. One man was crying, I could hear
the breaks in his sobs as he knelt
holding the dog’s paws in his hands,
pressing them to his mouth.
He pulled the animal into his arms
and walked back to the truck.
The dog seemed heavy. I followed
and his friend motioned for me
to slide into the bench seat between them
because they were not in a hurry anymore
and he didn’t think it was right for me
to be out alone like that. They drove
me home, one man crying, the other
finally turning off the radio.
Susan Alkaitis a writer living in Boulder, Colorado. Her poetry has recently appeared in Rattle, The 2018 Punch Drunk Anthology, Slow Trains, The 2River View and The Glass Journal.