ODE TO DOGS
I am tired of hearing about dogs
used as metaphors for the uncivilized.
Imagine a world in which humans
possessed at least twenty times
as many olfactory receptors,
able to distinguish the tang of cancer
rising musk-like from the bedsheets
next to a smoldering ash tray,
able to detect that one drop of blood
in every five quarts of water,
to know what you did last night
no matter how many times
you soap-scrubbed the evidence.
It does not take savagery
but more love than we can muster
to lick the hand you’ve sniffed,
to love despite the perfume of sins
we wear each day like a halo.