The street basks in spot light sun
And Jack takes his dog for a walk,
Passes in front of us
Sitting behind the wide window screen
Relaxed for a moment
Before the children return.
The street, a slow unravelling
A random and effortless soap opera.
Jack passes by on the other side
He’s eighty, his dog, Alsatian,
Young, gangly and alert
On the lead – their daily exercise.
Then Black Harry comes across the road
At Jack’s dog
Barking and jumping up at his throat
There is the roar of dogs
And Jack shouts
Pulls at the lead
Then bends down
To put his arms around his dog.
When we get there
We don’t know what to do.
Jack won’t let his dog go
Harry is all jaws and saliva
His teeth around the Alsatian’s neck.
So I grab at Black Labrador Harry’s collar
Pull him straight off Jack’s dog.
He comes away easy
His anger retreats
With adult authority
Then seems disinterested
When his owner comes
To grab him off me.
She was in the back garden
Her mate in the shower
Harry must have slipped out unnoticed, she says.
So there’s Jack now
Shouting at her
He’s losing his breath
But he keeps on yelling
He changes colour.
We try and calm him
But he takes a few steps into a driveway
To get some distance from us
Pulls his dog with him.
Then he stumbles onto his knees
And crumples onto the ground.
Lies there, motionless,
Accusation and anger in his stare
With his face turning blue.
That was the last we saw of Black Harry
And Jack, stretchered into an ambulance
The driver shaking his head.
© David Loffman