He Who Looked On


A cardboard box of roly-poly pups,
Amid a crowd of shouting children, sat
Outside the grocery store next to a sign
Marked free. Examined, lifted, dropped, each pup,
Though nervous, hungered more for love than milk.
To be the choice of one of these children
Would mean much more than all the world to them.
And as the day progressed, eight puppies turned
To seven, six, then five. A toothless girl
Took number four and smiled brighter than
The sun above. A boy with glasses begged
His mom for number three, and two were left.
The sun was going down by now. The box
Somehow felt bigger, colder than it had.
A gray-haired woman with a cane approached
And, smitten, lifted one up to her face.
Without a second thought, she’d made her choice.
And just like that, a single pup was left.
He didn’t know it, but the grocery store
Would close soon. Nights were warmer now but still
Not warm by any means. Was this his lot?
He thought for sure his chance would come. “Just wait,”
He told himself each time a sibling left.
But now alone in darkness, he began
To doubt. Perhaps not only men but God
Had overlooked him, disregarded him,
Forgotten he existed. Nose against
The cardboard, he still smelled each sibling’s scent.
He’d trade his nose to be where they were now:
Adored, well-fed, and played with without end.
Though unbeknownst to him, someone looked on.
He’d watch him all that night clear through till dawn.
He’d record every shiver in the cold.
He’d give the pup each breath to fill his lungs.
Whatever was his fate, he saw and cared
For him. He cared for sparrows after all.
Yes, sparrows fall, and sometimes puppies die,
But not a one escapes the Master’s eye.
Even death, and lonely deaths included,
Aren’t strong enough to quench the flame of hope.
He sees and cares though we in darkness grope.

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