Afternoon

Afternoon

I look at my dog sleeping

Sideways on the couch.

His golden belly gently rising.

His paws stretched, sticking out over the side.

His tail tucked under his legs,

His little ears folded back.

 

He whimpers, his paws tremble.

Puppy dreams, I think fondly,

Though he turned three many months ago.

I sit and watch him.

My laptop slack, forgotten.

And suddenly, I can smell bread baking.

A rich, warm, glorious smell

That wafts through the house.

 

Who’s baking on a Monday afternoon, I wonder.

 

I open the door and check outside,

but the other flats lie silent.

The corridor is cold and silent

And smells of cheap phenyl.

 

It is in my house, the smell of bread.

It cannot be otherwise.

Heady, rich, impossible to ignore.

My heart is filled with it.

 

I move from room to room, my dog at my heels.

I sniff the air, my head raised.

He cocks his head. He is puzzled.

What is the human looking for?

 

My windows are latched shut.

The balcony closed.

It is a cold, gloomy day with a nip in the air.

Defeated, I return to my seat.

My dog totters after and curls up at my feet.

 

A few minutes later, the clouds shift.

A stray sunbeam comes in.

His brown fur blazes golden.

And I sit, transfixed.

He yawns, his tongue lolls pink.

He scratches an ear. He licks a paw.

And turns melting brown eyes to me.

“Yes, human?” they seem to ask,

“Do you smell the mysterious smell again?”

 

I bend forward and bury my face in his back.

And it is there again.

That thick, golden, wholesome scent

Choking my heart.

Stinging my eyes.

Almost too rich to bear.

 

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