An old man whose black face
by Denise Levertov
shines golden-brown as wet pebbles
under the streetlamp, is walking two mongrel dogs of dis-
proportionate size, in the rain,
in the relaxed early-evening avenue.
The small sleek one wants to stop,
docile to the imploring soul of the trashbasket,
but the young tall curly one
wants to walk on; the glistening sidewalkentices him to arcane happenings.
Increasing rain. The old bareheaded man
smiles and grumbles to himself.
The lights change: the avenue's
endless nave echoes notes of
liturgical red. He drifts
between his dogs' desires.
The three of them are enveloped -
turning now to go crosstown - in their
sense of each other, of pleasure,
of weather, of corners,
of leisurely tensions between them
and private silence.