a dog curls its body into mine
his fur is itchy against my bare legs
but his warmth grounds me

he rests his head on his one white paw
and his tongue hangs out

I run my hand through his short hair
and feel the muscles beneath it quiver

He moves up towards my face and begins licking,
with his dried out tongue

it’s been a year since I had one of my own
and looking into her brother’s face
I can feel her in my great cloud of witnesses
looking down and wagging her tail