Dew is already deep in the overgrown grass, the air damp with a salty tang. Zeke’s hips are too ground down to lift a leg, so he just stands there. We both just stand, looking into the darkness. Sometimes a moon silvers his thinning fur. Sometimes it’s clear enough for stars. Orion strides across the heavens, his dog trotting at his heel. A great live oak reaches over from the neighbor’s yard, dense black limbs silhouetted against a paler sky, single voluptuous remnant of forests. Can a tree be lonely? Zeke tips up his muzzle, scent streaming through a hundred million olfactory cells as he reads the illuminated manuscript of night — raccoons prowling down the street, who’s in heat or just out for a stroll. Handsome still, he reminds me of an aging movie star with his striking white eyebrows and square jaw. He always had an urbane elegance, a gentleman who could carry off satin lapels and a silver-tipped cane. Tonight an ambulance wails. Someone not so far away is frightened, in pain, trying to live or trying to die. And then it’s quiet again. No birds. No wind. We don’t speak. We just wait, alive together, until one of us turns back to the door and the other follows.