The Dogs of San Marcos

by Barbara Rockman

The dogs of San Marcos are turning over, love, rolling on straw mats and on dirt paths. They are changing directions and walking backwards, their roughed fur and curled tails half-satisfied.

The dogs of San Marcos are singing, love. The black ones, the ones with pointed ears, the flop-eared, the one-eared, in their separate barrios under the loud stars, in the soft air, they send out their separate verses, love, listen

how they take turns, converge a chorus of howl, whine and sharp bark. I think they are patient, one with the other, waiting for the note they should advance, given by the open throat that precedes them.

The dogs of San Marcos are sleeping, love, on cobbled streets, in the path of school children. They dream and twitch oblivious to time and hunger, belonging to no one, belonging to everyone.

The dogs of San Marcos are orphans as you and I. I look into their eyes, measure intimacy, their hesitation, their shyness, and think, how green your eyes, long lashed, too lovely for a man.

The gods of San Marcos are praying, love. The dogs line the streets and we, one breath per stone, fingers in a grip easy as pines brushing mist, lift above the dogs of San Marcos.

But wait, the stiff-jointed and loose-tongued, the scarred and panting are rising, love, and we are flying with the dear winged dogs of San Marcos.