Maybe Next Time Around

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For Marie

 

Dogs. Yes, dogs she says, are like angels.

No, I say, they are like dogs. It’s 103 degrees.

August, church bells banging, cars, voices

       of children and parents. Dogs,

are better than people, she says.

They embody virtue, exemplify

the steadfastness and magnanimity

that redeem the nightbound world.

I’m not sure, I say. I think they’re more like dogs.

Meanwhile, we’re watching her dog noisily and

       intently chew a rawhide. I’m thinking

that I don’t like having a body. Dogs, she says,

have been coevolving with humans for 50,000 years.

That’s a long time, I say, imagining

       a northern landscape, campfires, ancient

caribou herds, dogs trailing skeptically behind,

eyeing their first humans. Do you think, I say,

we are getting any better? Me, you,

       people? Do you think dogs

are making us better humans?

I don’t really look at it that way, she says.

What way, I ask? The getting better way,

       she says, that things are getting anywhere.

Oh, I say, seeing a planet in flames, humans

clinging to dogs, careening through space,

burning towards the next world.

Joshua Moses is visiting assistant professor of anthropology and environmental studies at Haverford College.

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