The street, empty.
The peonies, hypertrophic.
The windows, dark.
A brown dog crosses the road in front of a white van. It’s young, and scared, and looking for somewhere to hide. It finds my feet, sits down on them, leans onto my ankles. It’s a soft weight.
A man’s head emerges from the van’s window. He asks something.
It’s not mine, I say back.
The man gets off, comes closer. I said, does it have a tag?
The man is British, which in Brent is noteworthy enough.
I pet the dog’s head.
Poor thing, he agrees.
He picks up the dog, gently; holds it in his arms. The man has white paint spots all over his clothes, the dog’s fur has some of its own.
A boy comes out of the tennis court on the other side of the road.
Is it yours?
No. But it just ran through the court.
Poor thing, poor thing, we go again.
Will you take care of it?
Yeah, he says.
Good luck, I tell him.
Yeah, he says again. Wearily, as if it’s not the first time.