by Robert Wrigley
The last thing the old dog brought home
from her pilgrimage through the woods
was a man's dress shoe, a black, still-shiny wing-tip.
I feared at first a foot might be in it.
But no, it was just an ordinary shoe.
And while it was clear it had been worn,
and because the mouth of the dog--
a retriever, skilled at returning ducks and geese---
was soft, the shoe remained a good shoe
and I might have given it
to a one-legged friend
but all of them dressed their prostheses too,
so there it was. A rescued
or a stolen odd shoe. Though in the last months
of the dog's life, I noticed
how the shoe became her friend, almost,
something she slept on or near
and nosed whenever she passed,
as though checking it to see if,
in her absence, that mysterious, familiar,
missing foot, might not have come again.