In the bright sunlight
a dog's skeleton vanishes
from inside its body
and the beast collapses
into a shaggy pile on the pavement
at its master's feet, eyes still gazing up
in adoration, even without a skull
to cradle them.
The master turns his head toward
his shriveled companion.
The doors in his wooden mask pop open
to reveal wet eyes rolling behind
hinged metal eyelids
The lip shutters flap open
and his tongue darts out
like a cuckoo in a clock.
The nose is a beak that unfolds
like the petals of a flower, exposing
the raw, wet mess of flesh and mucus
that shines inside.
He reaches his dead hand toward
a jar full of eyeballs, reaches through it,
closes his bony fingers around
a glass of spirits that smokes
on the wormy counter.
The dead mouth opens. Down the hatch
gushes the churning river.
In the lightless, motionless depths,
beneath the frigid waters,
bubbles rise. The eye blinks.
A distant dog barks.
All the shutters slap shut.