In Praise of Black Dogs
I am in favor of personal superstitions.
Not the kind Granma mumbles
Or the stuff of fright-night movies
But the ones that grow on you
When you notice which incidents in a day
Are shadows cast by something ahead
And get to know which clues from the world
Are reliable road signs.
I think a black dog, if friendly,
Is always a good omen
And could be a god traveling in disguise.
Some days you don’t have to figure this out.
At the door of possibility on
San Francisco Bay
A black dog crossed my path.
His walker, a ruddy man in a red pixie hat,
Told me the dog’s name is Pollo,
Short for Apollo.
I have a black dog of my own.
His name is Nubie, short for Anubis.
He lives in my dreams
And takes on many bodies in the world.
- from my collection Here, Everything Is Dreaming: Poems and Stories. Published by Excelsior/State University of New York Press
Photo: with my beloved black dogs, at the farm, in 1986.