Somewhere there is a dog barking.
The sound is barely audible when I hold my breath and listen
My dogs also listen,
they understand the message,
they bark it onward,
to the nearest dog
just next door, who then barks
to the dog down the street
who barks to the dog in the next
street, who barks it to the dogs
in the next town, who bark it
to the dogs in the big city,
who bark it across the state.
All these dogs barking,
started by a sad chihuaua with a need,
lonely for her people,
fearing they’ll never return.
The dogs across the state carry it on,
they bark across the rivers,
tell the dogs of the whole nation.
In the mid Pacific, a dog hears the barking
on his walks down the polished deck of luxury,
and soon all the dogs on the ship are barking.
No one knows what set them off.,
it’s a lot of barking to
annoy everyone, waken peaceful sleepers,
startle amorous lovers,
distract the crew from their work.
Dogs must bark, for this is an urgent matter,
a lonely Chihuahua, and soon
every dog on every ship is barking.
Here at home, my dogs still bark
and none of my training can stop them,
the bark is more important than mere human needs.
Soon the bark has reached Alaska. The sled dogs
always bark but they must respond in kind
and they change their urgent cry of “let’s run let’s run”
to the more compassionate tune of “will someone please
come home and comfort that poor Chihuahua.”
Russia’s eleven time zones come alive with barking.
Vladivostok to Petersburg,
Irkutsk to Moscow, Russia’s dogs pass it on,
north to the White Sea,
south to the Black Sea.
Soon, Poland’s dogs are barking,
Germany’s dogs are barking,
France’s dogs sniff and lift their heads,
carefully, decide whether this bark takes precedence
over dinner, and yes, they bark. No translation is needed.
Barking is universal, dog emotions are potent.
On the African Veldt, the jackals raise their heads and bay,
the foxes of the desert yip their passionate cries
wolves and coyotes sing,
oh poor lonely Chihuahua, when will your people return?
Soon the bark has reached Easter Island, and Tahiti, and
Rangaroa, bark bark, bark bark, roars and squeals and yips
join together, across the earth, dogs are barking
and people are crying “shut up!” or “shhhhhh” or “No barkies”
or crossing their arms and leaving the room.
People blow on whistles, snap
clickers, squirt water, shake cans full of rocks but the world’s dogs bark
and it’s lucky we can’t hear them all for we would go mad.
We think this is a mere local bark,
our dogs responding to the lonely Chihuahua somewhere blocks away.
We don’t know that when a dog barks the whole canine world
barks and their tones fly with the winds, rise into the clouds to travel
great distances, for one of their kind is distressed and dogs are the most loyal
of creatures, we have no idea how loyal,
it is a dog’s duty to bark until the message has circled the world
and the Chihuahua’s people feel a subliminal urge, a stab of worry,
an urge to hurry
home, home, quick unlock the door, Ceecee’s gone nuts
the neighbors are irritated (dammit why don’t you teach that dog
some manners) and they thought she was trained but they leave her alone long and often, they think it doesn’t bother her
they have no clue that Ceecee’s loneliness has gone around the world and
she was doing every thing in her power
to bring her people home, and they returned, sooner than they expected,
canceled plans at the prompting of some vague worry about their dog’s
plight. They had no clue
that their little Chihuahua had raised the hue and cry of eight billion dogs
who barked across all the time zones of the world to help
Ceecee bring home the people she loves,
home as soon as she can.