Doggy Days

She was past it and fading

an old soldier of doggy friendship

regally occupying her space on the couch

coughing asthmatically and frantically scratching

her way through yet another month

of babysitting, visits to the vet, concern

 

We looked into each other’s loving shrugs

and sighing turned away to daily tasks

ambivalence had never been our forte

black and white our default viewing mode

but this was a tough one

that required more than a little

color shaded painful self awareness

 

One day she nearly solved the question

on the stairs she faltered, trembled in spasm

and fell six stony steps like a chunk of meat

upended her eyes turned into her skull

her chest a gray whisper

we listened for her pulse sure that she had gone

ashamedly thanked the Lord for a merciful ending

 

And then like the doggy phoenix she was

she coughed, flipped over stood up

bounded into the house tail wagging

and jumped up on her throne like a puppy

 

Now here we are, dreaming our way through

another humid summer and fall

another unasked question

another uncomfortable dream

the sweet heavy price of duty

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© Johnmichael Simon

2004

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