I have come to see the point of shells,
hard crustaceous outgrowth
as of the thickening of skin into callus
or of wounds into scabs. My father
likes lotion on his elbows, such corners
of the body that bear its weight
on surfaces. Knees, for instance.
I used to pray. I finger the dog’s paws
as he sleeps, his only rough patches.
The rest is too soft: the tongue
that constantly hangs out,
his slobbering love. I’m thinking
some occasions require the face
of a pachyderm. Tears of a croc.
Defenses of a tortoise. Sudden
retreat, a learnable skill.
They say I am a tough nut to crack.
High praise. So I shall be
“taken for granite.”
My love is going to the dog.
© Noelle Leslie dela Cruz