Lost Dog

we had just come out of a cafe
about 2 in the afternoon
and I noticed this thin starving dog
he was dizzy and bewildered in the hot sun
and he kept running out into the boulevard
in wild circles
just being missed by automobiles.

“let’s get him out of the street,” she said.
“o.k.,” I said.
we got into the car and drove along to where
he was.
I finally coaxed him into the car.
he was still trembling.

“let’s take him home with us,” she said.

“I’m not that good a person,” I said.
“I’m just going to take him to a nice shady park
where he can get some water and some picnic

I drove him to the park grounds and let him
out. then I swung around and got on the Golden
Gate freeway.

a man pulled up alongside of me as we drove along.
“you son of a bitch! I saw what you did!”

“what are you talking

the man was furious:
“I saw you dump your dog! I saw you let him out!
I saw you dump him in the park!”

we were driving side by side at 60 miles per
hour. he had his woman with him.
she was frightened and silent. so was

“hey, that wasn’t my dog!”
“you lying bastard! it was your dog!
listen to me! let me explain!
“explain what? you dirty rotten son of a bitch!”

“I picked the dog up off the street! he was going
to get run over! I saved his ass, you damn

he didn’t believe me:
“you dirty rotten fucking human being!”

“hey!” I screamed back at him, “pull on over and
I’ll rip your god damned head off!”

“o.k.!, ” he screamed, “o.k., I’ll try you!”

he started to veer off the freeway and I followed
then his woman grabbed him by the arm and began
talking to him.
he pulled his car back into the lane and
drove on.

I hit the gas and gained on him.

“what are you trying to do?”
my woman asked.

“I want him to understand!
they’ll lay in bed tonight and talk about
what a bastard I was!”

“Hank, he’ll never believe you
no matter what you say.”

“all right, I guess you’re right….”

everybody was feeling bad.
then I drove past the exit I wanted
on the freeway. my stars were surely 
out of order for that 

Charles Bukowski
This poem appeared in the following books: