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  Walking the Dog at Dusk

Walking the Dog at DuskThe driveway steams like a horse.
Forsythia mingles with tar. Impatient,

the spaniel strains, head down and shoulders
urgent. Somewhere, far off,

among the dark columns of poplars,
comes the keening of a thrush, his hymn

attended in pine limbs, their tossed needles
recalling rain. A waning crescent reclines,

iridescent, in the violet-streaked sky
where a few stars flare on. The houses reply

with flood lamps and bulbs, a chandelier
glimpsed through an upstairs window.

Turning back, my soles obliterate his tracks,
staggered kidney shapes

that evaporate from macadam.
Hills funnel the rumble of trucks

on the interstate, hauling freight from ware-
house to docks, Harrisburg to Philadelphia

and back again. Through the double doors
of the garage, we step into gold

endorphin light that flickers on stenciled wrens
and hunker down among our kin.

—Jen Bryant (originally published in North Dakota Quarterly, V. 74)

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