When one has lived a long time alone, one falls to poring upon a creature. . . .
— Galway Kinnell
Alone, I study the dog’s offering: a wood thrush, one clean vee wedged out of its spotted throat, talons curled as if to grasp an invisible limb; russet shoulders that don’t mind touch, the riot of red on its head. Alone with the animals: if I stroke the cold thrush at table, if I speak to his dead eyes, who’s to say, Stop your disgusting behavior! Who’s to turn away in bed?