a wanderer and ripley

by Steven J. Serafiani

an older Canadian wanderer came
to my coffee shop and ordered
an americano. he looked tired and
beaten down but reasonably
content.                                      he tied

his dog up to a concrete post just out
front. it was raining and cold, even
for this southern beach
town.                                          his dog,

a golden retriever by the name of
ripley, kept on barking loudly for
him. told me that they go everywhere
together; “she’s not used to being alone.”
he asked how much for the coffee, I
said nothing.                            he thanked

me and went back out to ripley. I
followed with a cup of water for
her. she licked my hands first, then
lapped up the water. he told me  that I
reminded him of his son who was no longer
around.                                      I thanked

him and we said our goodbyes.

now, I’ve been an emotionless tied up
concrete human for awhile now it seems but this
interaction made me quietly weep. it

felt good.
it felt human.
It felt needed.

and for the rest of my days, I’ll remember
this canadian man and Ripley, his golden.