Old Dog and the Grays
by T. K. Cowen
The old dog yawned, his old bones creaked, as from his fitful sleep he broke.
What sent his nap to nervous flight? What light or sound tore through the night?
He did not know and yet he woke.
And there upon the lawn he saw, with wide, uncomprehending eyes,
a sight he'd never seen before, a car with neither wheel nor door--
a plate, a bowl, yet giant-sized.
And from this dish beings emerged, tall and thin and silver-gray,
human-like but human not, walking--gliding--toward the spot
where the dog in his bed lay.
In no time flat they reached the porch. He should be on his guard he knew.
His hackles rose like doubt in bloom. His nose picked up their weird perfume.
Suspicion in his old heart grew.
But the strangeness of the scene had somehow turned instinct away.
His throat prepared but didn't sound; his feet refused to cover ground
to hold this enemy at bay.
They reached the stoop; they turned the knob with fingers long and snaky thin.
They entered through the broad front door, climbed the tread to second floor
and found the humans hid within.
Man and wife, asleep in bed, as silently on dreaming’s loom
they wove with matters of the mind a silk to hide the world behind,
not knowing over them stood doom.
The old dog watched in panicked awe at what befell his family prized
as Gray Things each reached out a hand and covered mouths of wife and man.
They woke but they lay paralyzed.
Their eyes could move but voices, no. They rose as if both drugged and bound,
followed their captors out the door, down the stairs, across the floor,
frightened, yes, but without sound.
No hope, Dog thought, have we now against the force of unknown foe.
I cannot bark, they can’t command. Our wills in chains, the upper hand
is had by those with us in tow.
But fate took an eventful turn as cross the cold, dark porch they slipped,
for man, his master, took the rear and, mesmerized, in shock with fear,
he stepped on old dog’s bone and tripped.
The trip, the fall, they broke the spell that held both he and wife in thrall
and now his voice came flooding back. He shouted, "Old dog, help, attack!"
And old dog had to heed the call.
But paused he did for second split and met the creatures eye to eye.
In time borne timeless, such is thought, with no eye blinked, no motion sought,
they knew his will--he knew their why.
Experiments, that's not so bad, compared to what they’ve done to me.
You'll keep them warm and give them food, let them live if they do good--
it's the deal of the century.
"Dog," they shrieked, both man and wife, "We're your masters, give us help.
Don't look at us with hopeless eyes. Don't fall for silence, silence lies.
Help us now, you thankless whelp."
Thank you, thought he, for the chains, the veterinarian, the shots?
Fetch my slippers. Drop that cat. No more food, you’re getting fat.
For all that, Master, thanks a lot.
Their abductors tugged at them. Trapped, they crossed the final ground.
The dish-shaped ship they entered then. "Dog!" they cried, and cried again.
Old dog heard, but just sat down.
Old Dog and the Greys, poetry, Issue 20, September 1, 2012
T.K. Cowen, I was born in Wyoming but moved to Alaska when I was one year old so that makes me, I believe, an official Alaskan. I'm one of eight children and mother of five. With the man of my choice and the one child too young to leave the nest, I live in a house on a hill overlooking Anchorage and the Cook Inlet. When I'm not at my part time job at a greenhouse I spend my time biking, hiking and sailing with my son and, of course, writing.