walking alone
by the briny rocks
     a tourist near the sea
a stray dog followed me
I saw him avoiding a parade of
wide-winged old cars
as I crossed the street

he must have heard me
wishing for his safety

his tan fur was ocean-choppy
patched with rough scars
his thin frame
a story of hungry days

but his eyes were soft
as fresh foam and
warm with deep
circles underneath

as I walked
he stayed by my side
and even bloated trash cans
dotting the pot-holed sidewalk
didn’t stop him
leaving me

I could tell
people passing by in
flip-flop sandals and neon trainers
thought he was my dog—
they smiled

we were both proud

I wanted to give him food and a bed
teach him to play catch
on the sand

but when I got to my door
he vanished rushing off
like a summer wave
     rolling home

maybe he knew
that it wouldn’t work out

I think he must have
attached himself
     to another stranger
walking alone near the sea

someone who might be around





Zaro Weil lives in southern France with her husband, Spot Guevara Hero Dog and little puppy Haiku, alongside a host of birds, insects, badgers, wild boars, crickets, donkeys, goats, hares and loads more. She has been a lot of things: dancer, theatre director, actress, poet, playwright, educator, quilt collector, historian, author and publisher. Zaro has had four poetry collections published within the past few years. Her first two collections, Firecrackers and Cherry Moon, were widely praised, with Cherry Moon being awarded the CLiPPA Poetry Award for 2020. Her latest books, Polka Dot Poems and When Poems Fall from the Sky (in association with Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew) have had some wonderful success.