Dogs bark into the early morning blackness,
up-canyon scent of something feline, half-bayed
young lion in the oaks to rock piles arched—etched
in their minds, they become a pack of oddities
standing-off coyotes, rousting coons from the garden,
escorting possums and skunks—we know their bark.
Your Beagle inheritance, inside fat, old and waddling,
following his nose to new frontiers beyond a life
on the couch, instincts fired to chase and bay
sharp claw or teeth he’s never dreamed before,
barks in his sleep—deep furrows in his derrière.
The dark stranger, jumpy, blockheaded Queensland
slinks and investigates the far water trough
every evening for smells—fell out of a cowboy
pickup and moved-in waiting to be found
likes his soft outside bed more than anything. Just
how they admire your Border Collie Jack-the-Good-Dog
keeps them lined-out circling the house.