Not far from here someone
is calling my name.
I jump to the floor.
Still, this could be a trap.
I look under the covers for my knife.
But even as I curse God
for the delay, the door is thrown open
and a long-haired brat enters
carrying a dog.
What is it, child? (We are both
trembling.) What do you want?
But the tongue only hops and flutters
in her open mouth
as a single sound rises in her throat.
I move closer, kneel
and place my ear against the tiny lips.
When I stand up – the dog grins.
Listen, I don’t have time for games.
Here, I say, here – and I send her away
with a plum.
– Raymond Carver