The Germans From Dortmund

The infertile beast
Embarrasses the Itcha Mountain-guide
Before two eye-rolling Germans
From Dortmund.

It lies on a strapped-on canvas bag of
Food and pots,
Glaring as only mules
Can glare.

"Gittum!" the bow-legged,
Horse-held guide
Demands of the one-eared collie
That then darts in,
Nipping a foreleg,
Barking,
Nipping a buttock, then
The nose, barking more,
Always drawing back just in time,
Avoiding the twitching mule's
Death-teeth.

*

Twelve years after
The Germans had returned to their
Homeland of dying Black Forest,
And after the collie had lost some hair
And molars,
It forgot--
Forgot as it edged a switchback,
Passing the grey hind legs.

A hoof caught it broadside,
Knocked it spinning, howling,
Into a 100 foot deep gully--
The mule's left ear twitched
When the thud came.

The mountain-locked old man had stopped.
The mule hadn't.
The old man didn't yell--
Oh, he nearly did:
That was his dog!--
But he remembered,
Like the grey mule,
He remembered that trip
With the Germans
Twelve years ago.


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