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Searchers

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We gave our dogs a button to sniff,   
or a tissue, and they bounded off   
confident in their training,   
in the power of their senses   
to recreate the body,   

but after eighteen hours in rubble   
where even steel was pulverized   
they curled on themselves   
and stared up at us   
and in their soft huge eyes   
we saw mirrored the longing for death:   

then we had to beg a stranger   
to be a victim and crouch   
behind a girder, and let the dogs   
discover him and tug him   
proudly, with suppressed yaps,   
back to Command and the rows   
of empty triage tables.   

But who will hide from us?   
Who will keep digging for us   
here in the cloud of ashes?

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the September 2002 issue of Poetry magazine

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Searchers

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