I saw him for a split second,
black and white edged in beige,
a mixed breed.
It's absurd, of course, a trick of memory,
yet I know the texture of his coat,
the oiled quality of a retriever,
every coarse hair separate beneath the stroking palm.
Not a stray-
a red heart tag like a talisman
at the base of the white throat,
a classy loose-gaited cur on a night out
to hunt rat in an empty lot, or
with luck, nose out a coon,
one of those cagey big-city survivors in littered parks.
He'd made it across five lanes
to be caught in headlights,
superbly alive when I hit him mid-stride, dead center
at a mile a minute.