I always wanted a dog, but
I never expected this one:
hound of Hades, three heads,
his eyes flash fire. He stands
by the river, allows the dead
to enter but not to leave.
I’ve named him for my own.
I hum him songs my mother
used to sing to me, bend low
to his ear. We are rooted, here.
He is ugly, but he is alive: he squats
to shit on the hard ground, paws
the earth, circles three times round
before he rests. He leans heavy
against my side, three tongues
pink in panting. Hercules arrived
sweaty & disturbed, dragged the dog
to the surface & back, never asked
me for permission. The big oaf
almost strangled his many heads
with chains of adamant, forced
him to walk in the sunshine
like a curse. Now when I go
to the river, Cerberus settles
at my feet on a pillow
of bank moss. Together,
we watch the dead come in.