Sitting on the step and running my fingers through the curly hair of my grandmother’s poodle
tentatively, of course - he bites sometimes if you move too fast.
The rounded edge of one of my seashell nails catches on a hairless wart, and I jerk my hand away.
We look each other in the eye, both of us with an expression of surprise.
I grimace, and I can’t help but think to myself, how could anyone love a dog
with bumpy skin and grey-splotched fur?
But now - how could I not love you?
You who inexplicably knows when I need you to sit next to me,
who puts up - reluctantly - with the haircuts I give you, even though they never turn out quite even.
These past few years, there are more and more white hairs running through the once-brown spots on your face.
I don’t even try to avoid the bumps on your skin as I run nail-bitten fingers through your fur.
I don’t even flinch when you drool on my lap, or get annoyed when you snore loudly enough to startle me out of sleep.
You look up at me through milky eyes and we both just understand.