Vet’s Dog Vet’s dog raced erratically Along End Of The Line avenue That snaked its way

along the sea Between Merchant Square and Carnival Park. He did not make the usual stops. No sticky sweet bones From Hank’s Butcher Shop. Briny fish scraps from the wharf Were left to garrulous gulls that swooped And danced ’tween cloud and dock on wet, salty winds. Red Bone tuned out the sea side and sea lane cacophony. Traffic whizzed and thrummed. Occasionally boat horns croaked long and low, like the mourning dirge of whales singing from the deeps. Bells chimed and wind chimes tinkled as screen doors slammed left and right while pedestrian traffic scurried amongst brightly colored souvenir and snack shops. Myriad scents from hot dogs to deep fried pastries mingled with the throaty cries of hawkers selling their wares. Redbone had once treed coon on frosty autumn nights. Red herring trails could not divert him from his chosen course. Soon the echoes of the city were far away, Even for a coonhounds ears. Asphalt had become warm sands. Like a slow locomotive on a long meandering track, Redbone shuffled and snuffed along an unseen trail That only a coonhound could follow Or a shell-shocked drifter might remember. Bright lights loud roar Had taken his master away! Red Bone whined as his nose detected the scent Called Our Place. He padded into a rusty box car buried deeply in weed capped sand As his last Texas twilight faded. Red bone curled up on a tattered green army blanket That smelled of master, sweat and cheap cigarettes. The aroma that would have been repugnant to others comforted him, Then brought back memories of master thrashing in the night crying,

“Nam...rice paddy…ambush!” Red bone awoke suddenly, then limped back into the black starry canopy of midnight. He listened to the night sounds that were muffled by the booming crash and gurgle of surf. Red Bone howled at the ghost coon moon As a fresh off the line ‘77 Cadillac Coasted to a gravel munching stop. When the rear door opened, Red Bone barked and jumped into his master’s arms. “Red Bone, Red Bone,” wept the man, “The doctor’s done called Papa and Mama. They’s a come to get us boy! Our Kentuck mountains is a callin’ us home!” Written post college at a Poem Writing Workshop – late 1980's.

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