He may be dying again. I am not
in the mood
but gather the syringes of honey,
and the tissues, and sit with him
as he licks at the air that grips and
torques him to a quivering, half-way
crouch. My eyes swell as his stare.
In my home, there are only two pairs
of eyes, and one of them is blind.
Three months after the diabetes
I realized that seeing out of his
must be like looking through the frosted
pane in the vet’s office door.
Once a teen in the street exclaimed
“Wow, a dog with sky blue eyes!”
I explained but shouldn’t have, as
compliments, daily in his youth,
are rarer now.
His silky Setter’s tail drooped
as we made our way back home.
He may not be dying again. I am not
in the mood
as I cross the hall, its shafts of light
and shadow, as I fumble for my keys,
my bearings, that sneaking, shameful pang
growing, glaring, and I want somehow
to tiptoe in, in order not
to wake the dead
—some days come down to this
breath held, once inside—
listening for the absence of his
gentle wheeze, before he
clamors from the bed, grunt
by grunt, twelve
easy inches down.
In his heave
and harumph I hear
at least twelve stories.
Then, in the wary prance of a
once-prince who’s lived
12 years of gravity and
any number of
strokes, he emerges.
His head is perpetually cocked now,
and the question’s always the same,
How could you have thought