Across the room, the dog’s chest swells and sinks
like the Mediterranean on a blue and windless day.
Her snoring hums both alto and bass, and the thin
snare rolling beneath suggests a rest that’s ocean deep.
The rain drums a soft stroll on the roof, and I sit alone
with the dog, wrapped in a sea-green fleece, reading
Pavese and watching January’s choir of sparrows gather
in the drizzle to assail a meddling hawk. Their early
industry does not embarrass me into action or coax
more than a stretch in the rocking chair. I’m hiking
a vineyard above Santo Stefano Belbo, and the wind
in the grapes sounds like the breath of a sleeping hound.
Philip Belcher is the president of the Mary Black Foundation, a health philanthropy in Spartanburg, S.C., and the author of a chapbook, The Flies and Their Lovely Names, from Stepping Stones Press. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Shenandoah, Southeast Review, South Dakota Review, Free Lunch, and elsewhere.