No Cute Pets

He has a greyhound frame, brown-cinnamon short hair, slim snout, long
patience with kids, and soft grey-blue eyes. I meet him in one of my summer
trips from the States, on a visit to my father’s birth village in the mountains of
central Greece. Cousins take vacations there. He plays with my cousins’
kids, eats from our table scraps and hangs around. Nobody claims him. Come
winter, the village empties. Villagers take their flocks to the plains. Vacationers
return to the cities. Only the old woman stays for winter. Her son, a monk on
sabbatical, takes care of her. Kanellos stays with them. But when the old
woman dies, what happens to him? I want to know, so I call my cousin.
Oh, he came back here the summer after she says, plays with the kids, eats
from our scraps. And how about winter? I ask. She does not know. So on my
own, I figure out survival tricks of his canine wisdom. A migrant family
member, he survives winters in the plains and in early summer makes by
himself the twelve mile trip back to the mountains to meet his summer family,
to a spot in our backyard where I pictured my grandma would have fed him
after dinner, if she was still alive.

Copyright 2013,  Basil Rouskas

Basil's poetry has been featured in many poetry venues, including the New York Times, Helix Magazine, Shot Glass Journal, and Tiferet: A Journal of Spiritual Literature. His first chapbook Redrawing Borders was published in 2010 by Finishing Line Press and drew favorable reviews in the Journal of Hellenic Diaspora in 2012. His second poetry collection Blue Heron on Black River is in production and will be released in January 2014, also from Finishing Line Press.

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