from Year of the Dog

Self-Portrait in the Time of Disaster

All morning my daughter pleading, outside
outside. By noon I kneel to button her
coat, tie the scarf to keep her hood in place.
This is her first snow so she strains against
the ritual, spooked silent then whining,
restless under each buffeting layer,
uncertain how to settle into this
leashing. I manage at last to tunnel
her hands into mittens and she barks and
won’t stop barking, her hands suddenly paws.
She’s reduced to another state, barking
all day in these restraints. For days after
she howls into her hands, the only way
she knows now to tell me how she wants out.