In the narrow bed,
the old man sleeping on his side,
little dog curled
against the small of his back.
And on the wall,
behind him in the soft dark,
hangs the painting, three-quarters life size,
in colors deep and vital, almost alive,
of his last dog for sixteen years, a big dog,
whose monogrammed collar loops over a hook
there on the wall beside him when he sleeps.
The little dog snores and wakes him,
and the old man stirs and turns.
Now the little dog is at his belly.
He reaches, puts his fingers on the collar,
then lowers his hand onto the little dog’s head.
It twitches, blinks, breathes ahhh, and haaa.
Sleep, like a blanket spreads over them both,
like dreaming answered prayers,
or a bed wide enough for three.