My dream for Lexi

My dream is this: you and I are running free, around oak trees, through shallow rivers and over wobbly styles. We’re muddy and panting and sweaty. You shake your wet fur and then pounce on a shrew, while I lie on the grass watching threads of cloud float away.

No drone of cars can be heard in this dream. No backfiring motorbikes, or any of the other things that make you tremble. There are no sudden people looming around corners. No one to demand ‘Can I stroke your dog?’ And then, ‘What’s wrong with her?” as you flinch below their hand, frantically biting through your leash. The bad guys surround us — in houses, cars, on bicycles. Your head moves everywhere at once. An exhaust bangs, a child laughs, a shadow falls. You flatten yourself against the ground, claws scraping, heart jumping, eyes rolling.

You would die for me in a heart beat and I want to tell you that you don’t ever need to. That it is enough that you exist. That all we want from you is to run by your side and throw sticks in the river. That you make our lives better by just being. You owe us nothing.

A friend once said to me, ‘It’s all going on behind the eyes, with some dogs.’

In my dream I can understand what’s going on behind your eyes. You can understand my words, and I yours. In my dream where the Swallows zig zag across the river, and we run and jump and laugh and bark.

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