Along a windy avenue walks Peter
The wind pushes the leaves ahead of him
Giving his thoughts a wide and clear run
To roam far afield, like a cooped-up dog
Let free of the shut gate of the night
Stopped by the frustrating handle he can’t open

The moon shining, thin clouds aglow, sky open
This wee-hour walk alone gives Peter
A way to free his mind. At home, the night
Closes in around him, suffocates him
And denies him sleep. Behind a fence, a dog
In a neighbor’s yard breaks into a run

His collar jingling, the dog’s sudden run
Startles him. He isn’t sure if the gate is open
And he doesn’t know whether or not the dog
will just threaten and growl or attack. Peter
considers the dog’s motives: does it mean to kill him?
What sort of people leave their dog out all night?

His musings wrecked now, the plans made in the night
To improve himself, to work out, to run
To win back the heart of the woman who left him
The bookstore with the cafe he could open
All of these swirling half-formed ideas left Peter
As he thought about his life and the running dog

Who would soon end it violently. But the dog,
Who had indeed been left out the whole night,
Had formed no instant plan to harm Peter
The dog, young enough that all motion was a run,
Just wanted someone to hold the gate open,
And let him escape, or maybe play with him

At the park. The dog liked when people gave him
Treats or threw a ball or brought another dog
For him to chase around. Crossing the open
Yard in four long bounds, his barks end the night
of its silence and cause bolts of fear to run
through every living cell of panicked Peter

When he was young, his parents gave Peter
Goldfish. The gate was open, so the dog chased him
Happy to have a friend with whom he could run