After Billy Collins

Some nights, when the moon spills through the canopy
upon my twitching flank and gray muzzle, I dream
that I am an old man in a bespoke suit playing
mah jong with a young girl in the small house,

throwing the bone dice, eating seed cake with my fingers
as she rises from her stool to get our tea, but
there is no tea, only her slow beautiful walk to the fire
and back, surprise and smile beneath a curtain of auburn hair,

her hand conciliatory upon my jacket sleeve, as I push
the East tile to the edge of the rough oak
and tell her stories about her grandmother.