About that german shepherd in the story
of one dog, aged twelve, named “Ciccio”–
a diminutive of endearment whose meaning
only real Italians know–
for years with Maria Tu Lu Campu
he went walking their familiar mile
to daily Mass. And recently, she died.
He followed her casket down the aisle.
Now, when the bells of Santa Maria Assunta
call to worship, without fail the dog shows up.
He sits for Mass not far from the main altar
and he never barks. Poor pup,
he just attends; it’s what he always did.
Father Donato has no heart to kick him out
and no parishioners object. Nobody knows
exactly what this dog devotion is about.
Maybe Pavlovian, a kind of piety by rote.
Or else the holy spirit, sometime known to be a dove,
flies over, leading him to where dogs don’t belong,
like savings banks or church. Maybe it’s just love.