The dogs in Greece are different

by Laura Scott

Rumours buzz around them like flies. Some say
they’ve taken over the old airport in Athens,
roaming its runways, loping around
the abandoned planes, cocking their legs
on the clumps of grass growing through the cracks
in the tarmac. Somebody has actually seen them,
sleeping on the unmoving baggage carousels
and chewing the dead cables, howling
under the announcement boards
proclaiming flight details of planes long gone.
There are stories of them guarding the Acropolis at night
in return for scraps of food, of thousands of them
being rounded up and driven away in lorries
before the Olympics, and poisoned or released into the hills,
depending on who you’re talking to. They say the ones
in the towns are fine, they spend their days
lying in the shade and their nights strolling around
the bars and restaurants. But the ones at the edges
where the roads turn into motorways and the grass grows
tall and sharp, they’re the ones you have to watch.
They have started to pack and someone has drawn black lines
around their pale lemon eyes. The bitches are always on heat  
and the litters are getting bigger. The pups with the soft pink
paw pads are the first to go and soon their own mothers
will be breaking their necks before they’ve opened their eyes.  
And one day a man will come home, dressed as a beggar,
a man who has been travelling for years and years but this time
there will be no dog flattening its ears and thumping its tail
at the sight of him, this time there’ll be wolves circling
the scrubland where he swears his house used to be.