O Dog

Out, Out from thy den of fear,

O Dog.

Everything changing:

Strange voices,

Boxes,

Trash bags,

Migrating tables.

Her chair, empty.

Sit in the sun with me, Come.

Enjoy grass and air, Okay.

Dine al fresca, Heal.

Stay, while day is cool.

Bark at your squirrel one last time.

Before tomorrow comes.

O Dog

Remember our pre-dawn escape?

Afraid to slip the apron strings.

You returned to dogness as

That house disappeared in trees.

Sniffing, exploring, peeing.

Path, trees, blackberries, mud, scramble,

Ferns, nettles, rocks then

Starfish, purple, orange, red,

Sunstar!

So long ago,

Old grey nose.

O Dog

Your mama taught you badly,

Two bites from her fork

For you, and one bite for her.

Cooking is love –

Did you enjoy the feast?

Just one glance away and –

All 60 pounds, up into her lap.

You could be anything, she promised.

She was wrong, lapdog not.

Your unmanicured nails,

It’s nothing, she says, but

Back to hospital,

Again.

O Dog

You sigh and fart

Lean onto my shoulder

Angling for my lap –

Down!

I am busy.

Half-century old box

Of patches she bid my tiny hands cut

From our childhood.

My turtle swimsuit,

Easter swiss: dotted pink for me, green for the girls.

Alphabet dress.

Red velvet for Christmas

(Pink for the girls).

Piece of my christening dress.

Scrap of blanky.

Never a quilt.

Just random squares.

O Dog

Her final purpose:

“To outlast my dogs.”

Because you are not a sister

And not Our Dog.

Doctor tells me [smile]

She has been waiting [smile]

Before she can let go. [smile]

She’s your mom. [smile]

Perhaps she has been waiting

For you [smile]

I know what she waits for,

I reply,

It’s not me.

[frozen smile]

O Dog

Her purpose was clear

When she made the decision:

Time for you to die.

A perfectly good dog –

With very bad manners –

A hundred respond to my SOS

And from them, one.

I lean close and whisper

That you have a new home.

A place with land and a pack,

Where you can live dog’s life.

And she slips away

Without you.

O Dog

Without you, her house seems empty.

As I descend through morning light,

With each step, your scent increases.

Upholstery carted away.

Clothes packed.

Blankets washed.

Rugs shaken and rolled.

Curtains aired.

Art crated.

Baskets stored.

Cabinets emptied.

Candles lit.

Windows open wide to breezes.

And still you remain.

O Dog.

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