How do stray dogs know to run across the street?
How do they know that those loud, metal things will not stop and
if they are caught beneath that weight
they will die?
How many tears have not been cried by dogs and cats
who have watched mothers and brothers and friends
meet their ends on neighborhood highways-
and do they know there are people inside who drive those giant monsters
so fast that they can’t stop for a kitten?
How many possums and squirrels have become bloody pieces of art with
intestines made into mazes missing minotaurs and
scarring the earth like third-degree burns?
Children dressed to start school step outside to find splashes of pinks and browns
displayed on grey canvas of cement,
painted by a Prius or a Cobalt or a Benz
on its way to Eat Fresh! or ride a bike inside a gym.
And when kids see Death fifty feet from their doorstep
do they ask their parents what that thing is or was?
Do Mom and Dad tell them the truth or
do they try to preserve the innocence of youth and say
it’s just litter or trash that hasn’t been picked up?
Does anyone take care of the lost souls of outside
apart from the girl who’s just out for fresh air,
enjoying a morning that feels like fall
until silent eyes call to be moved into grass?
How many wheels must pass over the bodies
before they look like pieces of gum on the sidewalk-
unidentifiable colors mashed into shapes with no names
in paintings framed by shattered bones…
Unkissed noses and paws full of love
finally find Home having never known a human.
Unhappy trails lead to peace.