- A Dog’s Nose
Muzzle tilted to the wind, nostrils flaring, lips parted — a golden retriever just like ours seemed to live on air this morning when I walked the beach. Now, alone and bored, I’m looking things up on the Internet and find that a dog’s nasal membrane, if unfolded, would be as large as a man’s handkerchief. And for what? — traces of urine, old turds, a female gone by hours ago. Just three weeks apart and already I’m afraid I’ve lost your scent. A thousand miles away in my little writer’s studio, I’m thinking of you at home. I’m getting nothing done, unless you count what I’ve learned by Googling. Here’s something Heraklitus said about smell in the afterlife — psyches there, with no means to see or call or hear each other, find one another by smell alone. If you were here, I’d breathe you in, memorize your smell. I’d train myself until I developed a dog’s nose. And, if there is an afterlife, I vow, even if it takes an eternity, to sniff my way to you again, who I trust will be on my trail. [End Page 8]
Robert Cording teaches English and creative writing at College of the Holy Cross, where he is the Barrett Professor of Creative Writing. He has published six collections of poems. His latest is Walking with Ruskin, which came out in October 2010 from CavanKerry.