The buttons of the keyless lock, the slow creak of the door,

the momentary pause, another creak and a soft click.

The lazy thump of the dog's tail against the floor,

sleepily rolling over, expectantly exposing the soft belly fur.

Slight wince as the worn black shoes are kicked off

in the middle of the entryway,

tipping over to reveal crushed fries and peanut shells,

cool tiles sooth cracked feet through holes in worn-out socks.

Wooden floorboards provide the soundtrack for his journey

to the kitchen. Alternating sounds of the fridge, the drumming

of fingers, then the cupboard, and back to the fridge merge together

to create his familiar early morning theme song. The hushed opening

of the pizza box broadcasting the final decision. The slow march

up the stairs, the muffled chewing of cold pizza narrate

the final stages of the tour.

The flight of birds outside create sporadic shadows on the bed.

Red and white polo spotted with barbeque sauce atop the

laundry pile a telling sign he was home. Downstairs, the dog is asleep,

lying on his back, still waiting for a belly rub.