Black and tan mongrel
2 years old
Last seen in the park beside the river
on Christmas Day
Answers to the name of Rover
If seen please phone XXXX XXXX
a fading scrap of paper
the words bleached by the sun
and blurred by the rain -
but Rover, my mind sees you now,
exuberantly chasing sticks and unfortunate birds,
swimming and splashing through the river where you are not supposed to be,
cocking your leg against a sedate eucalyptus,
jumping on your owner's Sunday Best with muddy paws,
and infringing his dignity with wet nose and slobbering pink tongue -
and envy grabs me by the short and curlies.
Listen, Rover.... stop running around for a bit...
Think, so far as you caninely can, about this:
I do not make a fool of myself chasing sticks and birds;
I am a respectable citizen who does not go dog-paddling in rivers where swimming is prohibited;
I do not urinate over protected species;
I do not jump all over my betters with muddy paws;
On the rare occasions when my nose is wet and my tongue is slobbering, I keep them privately to myself.
Yet let's suppose I were lost.
Do you imagine anybody would post a notice in hopes of my return?
Do you imagine anybody would offer a reward for me?
Well, perhaps if I were to morph my soul and act in the way you do...
Then, indeed, I can imagine a public notice:
Man seen acting strangely
in the park beside the river.
Has frightened many children and their parents.
This man should not be approached.
Anyone with information should phone the police.
This is not quite what I had in mind.
Rover, I wish I could find you.
Not to claim the reward,
but to change places.
I reach out across untravelled miles
for your muddy paws
that I wish to grasp in friendship.
Rover, friend of all the world,
will you be my friend also?
In this park beside the river,
in our uncertainty
may we be well and happy.