Imperfection

They’re not imperfect,
exactly, just exact
in the wrong places,
the old, long-haired

dog with fuzz
on top of his head
and the young blond one
wearing an elegant

mustache of black skin
under her unusually
broad nose. She likes
to breathe through it

while mashing it against
her rump to bite a flea,
or stand on his upside-
down face biting his ears,

or pass him on her way
to bed up the stairs,
for him a mountain
of pain. He climbs up

sideways on his bad leg,
lifting it outdoors
next morning as high
as he can to pee

on her pee. Whatever,
she seems to say, off
rolling in whatever it was
overnight that died,

or maybe chasing her short
bent tail, disappearing
behind her except
for a feather of hair. His tail’s

short too, so waiting for me
at the door, she with the bent
wag, he with the small,
jiggling fountain of fur,

even their sweet mutt joy’s
imperfect, not exactly
the dogs I imagine when
they were pups, just them.

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