The mother dog licks the puppies’ arses.
They all crowd in together nudging for teats.
Later they will roll and play. They’ll bite each other
and lick the insides of each other’s mouths.
They will curl up together to sleep. When they are older they will
do all that, and more, with completely unrelated dogs.
I will tell my grandchildren that there was a time
when complete strangers would shake each other’s hands,
how friends would hug and greet with a kiss, sometimes on the lips.
The grandchildren will look at me as if I was mad.
‘Granny’s off again,’ they’ll think.
Of course, they also won’t believe me
when I say we had homes for old people.
‘What do you mean?’ they’ll say, and I’ll tell them
how for a few generations it wasn’t unusual
to live past eighty, and they will look at me as if I am mad.
They won’t believe that when sports people won a game
they threw themselves on each other in glee.
I wonder if they’ll understand glee.
I’ll tell them how people were so careless that
there were islands of plastic floating in the oceans,
how we were so wasteful that we bought more food
than we could eat, that we threw out clothes
after only wearing them a few times.
‘Some people had whole rooms with
nothing else in them but shoes.’ I’ll say.
They won’t believe me, but even while they think I’m mad,
they’ll say, ‘I’m glad I can hug you, Granny,’
and we’ll hug and watch the mother dog lick
the puppies’ faces after she is finished licking up their shit.