What Did Freddie, the Beagle, Steal?

What Freddie Stole

Dad’s beagle tugs a bone from
under my boot and sprints
around me. I cut him off against
the fence. He drops it and barks.
He slurps it up again and runs
behind the rose bush. I sit down.
He peeks out. Chase me, he says.
I let the walnut tree rub my back.
He lays the bone beside his paws.
Orange from the sun sets in his eyes.
His tongue wags like a tail.
A flight of geese honk over Norm’s farm
and I hear their calls echo off the hill.
Don’t you know he’s never coming back,
that he’ll never rattle your water bowl again?

I’m not going back in there—
that living room is too full of polite.
I didn’t announce it was Dad in the canister
although he would have liked the audience.
He would tell his bullfrog jokes again.
He can learn to listen now.

When Steve held the canister up
they squared their shoulders to him
one last time. I could see in their eyes
what they didn’t want to know.
I let Freddy back inside.
They didn’t wait long.

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