Scene4-International Magazine of Arts and Culture
Cadaver Dog | David Alpaugh | Scene4 Magazine - January 2019


David Alpaugh

This was no playhouse
but a house in earnest
Robert Frost

A dog is barking in Paradise.

Sniffing scorched earth... hellish air.

His handler shouting urgently,

“Over here!”


Man? Woman? Child?  Metal prongs

thoughtfully finger suspect ash & soil;

rake up nothing but the mute remains

of a smart phone—plus all that’s left

of a wedding ring (the diamond).


Nothing gold can stay.


Cadaver dog Gus’s sense of smell

is 1000 times keener than yours

as he savors a scent so redolent

of all his masters search for—

that intimations of humanity

flood his canine heart and mind.


Shall this essence materialize?

Toss a ball or frisbee?

Share a strip of bacon?

Go for a ramble in the park?


“Good boy!”


How lovingly a dog has done what dogs

are taught to do; but minus tooth or nail

or bit of sullied flesh to bag for DNA—

man’s best friend is left to grieve alone.


Not that there’s time to howl.

Gus gets a pat on his head (but no reward).

The search party moves on.

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David Alpaugh’s poetry, plays, and essays have appeared in previous issues of Scene4—and in more than 100 literary journals and anthologies. His collection Counterpoint won the Nicholas Roerich Poetry Prize from Story Line Press, and he has been a finalist for Poet Laureate of California. For more of his poetry and articles, check the Archives.

©2019 David Alpaugh
©2019 Publication Scene4 Magazine




January 2019

Volume 19 Issue 8

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