A dog is barking in Paradise.
Sniffing scorched earth... hellish air.
His handler shouting urgently,
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?
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.