The Dogs Cry – A Poem

by Alan Kaufman

My dog, Sloane, a Husky,
lifts her nose
and softly cries
on scenting some dog
she’ll never meet.
At night, on the sofa
she dreams,
shuddering, of dog park
packs of fading
memory, it’s been so long
since she’s gone there.

Sloane cries when ambulances
wail by with deathly urgency.
Before Corona, she’d howl boldly,
like her ancestral wolf; now
she whimpers with
half-hearted grief.

She lunges at shadows, hoping
that they will want to play. She
looks back at me with questioning
eyes as we traverse block after block
of black windows, as if to ask:
“Where have they gone,
the Golden Retriever, the Chocolate
Lab, the Shepherd, the glorious
mutts, the indignant and furious
Chihuahuas? Where have they gone,
and where are the people walking
them who commented on my
beauty, and asked permission to pet me?
Where have they gone?”

We are hiding, my love, in our homes,
from what you, our dogs, cannot know,
nor should you. Something invisible
stalks us, something terrifying, that keeps
us awake at night as you sleep.

And in the viral streets
of isolation
the dogs cry,
calling to each other
as they pass, socially
or spotting one another
across a boulevard,
abjectly, they cry.

And in the empty streets
the dogs cry, and in their dreams
and in the morning when they awaken
and on returning from their walks,
softly, as we who love
them stand unbearably
by, and in our broken
hearts we hear them
and in our broken hearts,
we cry.


March 31, 2020


AK and Sloane photoPhoto of Alan Kaufman with Sloane the Husky


Alan Kaufman’s most recent novel, The Berlin Woman, appeared last fall from Mandel Vilar Press.


Lead-In Stock Image –  Anna Cinaroglu / – “Pug dog with a medical mask and sad big eyes. Quarantine and isolation during coronavirus.”


pug quarantine mask - Anna Cinaroglu - Shutterstock - embed