Losing them, fixing them, forgetting to put them in
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The cancerous dog walks slow, leans
side to side through the empty house,
follows us to the car, hesitates, jumps in,
afraid he’ll lose his balance again.
He can’t hold his pee
and hasn’t taken food this week.
His throat bulges with tumors,
cutting off his air. All year,
he’s been dying like this,
becoming less of the dog he was.
He doesn’t want to play the foot game
or circle you for the bone. A week ago
he ran briefly in the cool evening yard.
I faked left and right. He lunged, herding.
Keeping us together was his favorite task.
Today, he’s calm in the back seat,
grateful for the ride. You said he died
with his head on your leg. Fast,
before the injection was finished. Together,
we cried. I’m just thinking of his little head,
you said. Today, the furniture’s gone,
on its way to your new home. New job,
new city, no faithful herding dog. Let’s
put a bright face on. Let’s try to say these words:
for the best; fresh start; meant to be.
Laura Lee Washburn