Animal Liberation

Phillip Hall

Animal Liberation

I: Hounded
for Charlie Brown, my first rescue greyhound

I was the dregs hitting the floor but still
I could cup the palm
of my hand over your cranium, fingers scratching
that spot
behind your ears, courting for you
a ceasefire in this alien
space of comfort & love & treats

What mass grave
of neglect might have been yours
after a life unsuccessfully racing, when camera/lights/action
are whittled down to a cage in a concrete pen

You came to me biting
yourself, your face a host of tics & yawns, too scared
for outside – the trace
of misuse

And yet, in saving
you, our self-harming is more or less
& in my townhouse turned kennel
we are becoming

II: Sir Jay Jay Raids Rich
for Billy Blue, my second rescue greyhound

raced    for the punters
a homebred genuine stayer     hooked
                                         out wide for speed star spoils

& his trainers manage the racing 
                   agenda     after deep pockets fracture
     his accessory carpal bone

to get him back
on track     surgeons     amputate
             front right toes

Sir Jay Jay is out there
                  a distance superstar     rent asunder
                                        from the field

but a hundred grand in prize money is stillborn
                     when it comes to post-racing care so a hobbled
     champ     is up for grabs

     as Billy Blue he is my knight
                                          in shining brindle
                  velcro-hound     snoot to snoot     limping from 

treat to soft toy squeak 
              these new-fangled lures lugged to a den
         now his snooza snuggler

                       long-haul dog-love     redeeming     Charlie & me

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