A Parable.

by Peter Money

The animals greeted him as if he were one of them.
Maybe they can smell the special carbon on his breath,
the distaste, refuse, the dying.

They offer a last run with the pack,
nudge him, lick his acrid lips and eyes, playfully nip
his wrists to bring him on his way.

Enough! finally he says, sitting on the stoop;
I am long for, I am long for
I will be long in my own good time.

The game withers and the dogs return
to what dogs do: slumber in the lulls
from play.  The man, though, what will the man do

as if after saying what he has said he will be on his way —
but no, he is there with this own remaining breath
barking like a dog, biting at the bone, consolable.