Maybe you were six
that first time that you remember
sitting on the red cement steps by the ivy
just you and a cattle dog
gifted a rare moment off the chain
all of you

looking into those liquid brown
border collie eyes
you sang softly
caressing velvet ears
rubbing whiskered cheeks
his black damp nose poised
in the words that swirled from your sweet throat
“I love you, I love you, I love you”

a simple tune
from your small mouth
surrounding his rapt head
an essence
soaking through fur

you sang those words
gazing into dog eyes
your own little lashes
brimming with tears
that were not sad
just feeling
moving through your fresh heart
extending through dainty fingers
singing through your baby teeth

the purity of puppy and child
needs no name
though adults may try
and reference

it was so easy
readily received
circulating as breath
between two heart beats

in a moment
down a gravel drive
in the oranges and the ivy

courtesy Andrew Ratto

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