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They are everywhere in Pompeii
unwinding in the sun
from nose to tail,
we step around them
careful not to wake them.

Another is flipped upside down,
a mannerist contortion
shackled at the throat, it whelps a lava flower
in this new mosaic, it waits,
but its master does not return.

In the house of the poet 'Cave Canem'
still marks a loyalty, its stroke of cool tessarae
illuminated by our cameras' flash
while the living dogs of Pompeii, still butter spread
in the hot sun, lie dormant at their masters' ankles
ears pricked, even in sleep, for the call.





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