The latest poetic offering from a reader on the question of dogs and death. It's by A.E. Stallings (whose Archaic Smile can be bought here):

The Dogdom of the Dead

There is no dog so loyal as the Dead,
Always with you, trotting along at your heels,
Or snoring lightly and taking up most of the bed,
Their paw pads twitching and their tails a-wag.

For even in your slumber, they still tag,
Dawdling behind and charging ahead,
Sniffing a memory out like a fleeting rabbit,
But always losing the scent when it crosses the Styx.

They are creatures of habit and cannot learn new tricks.
But what you would throw away, they fetch back for you,
A game they never tire of, and what you would keep,
They bury in the ground, a hoard of bones. 


If you try to sneak off without them, they sound such moans --
Wind skinning itself in the trees, the boo-hoo of trains --
And then come bounding behind you, faithful as shadows.
You will come to prefer them, dumb and dogged, forgiving,
For the Living, like cats, insinuate into your arms,
And when they’ve licked everything clean, dictated their terms,
They stray back into the moonlight and other kitchens,
Ungrateful creatures with their own lives.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.