I could not help but wonder
where the yellow lab with the red collar
came from as it crossed
the highway just north of Bakersfield.

Where were his people? Why alone
in the dry, desolate valley
with February rolling in
its cold, darkening skies?

As I drove on, I pondered his owner
who must surely be missing him,
frantic even, with worst case fears
and thoughts of reward posters.

It is possible that the dog
broke free from the master
and bolted for a better life
among the sagebrush and cattle.

Yes, dreams of being a cattle dog,
free to herd the heifers or hunt
the tardy waterfowl still heading south.
Yes, seeking adventure in his dog’s life.

Or maybe, the animal had lost his boy,
who had gone off to college.
Out of sight, out of mind.
The dog would search endlessly for him.

And sadness grows inside me as I think
about the beast who now wanders alone
looking for kind hands, for water, food.
And I want to save him, but he runs.


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