Waiting tables, dyeing textiles, separating goats in heat
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— For David Shevin, in loving memory
I will find myself waist deep in high summer grass. The humming
shock of the golden light. And I will hear them before I see
them and know right away who is bounding across the field to meet
me. All my good dogs will come then, their wet noses
bumping against my palms, their hot panting, their rough faithful
tongues. Their eyes young and shiny again. The wiry scruff of
their fur, the unspeakable softness of their bellies, their velvet ears
against my cheeks. I will bend to them, my face covered with
their kisses, my hands full of them. In the grass I will let them knock
“In My Good Death,” by Dalia Shevin, spoke to my heart. I am an officer in an animal-control kennel and have the profound responsibility of caring for thousands of animals each year. I’m sure Shevin wrote the poem with her family pets in mind, but I feel as if it were written for me too. Each animal that comes through our door has only a short time to find a home, and we do everything we can to make it happen. In the end sometimes a gentle voice and a quiet hand are all we have to give, and then they leave us.
Shevin has put into words my hope of seeing them again in a better place.
I was moved by Dalia Shevin’s poem “In My Good Death” [October 2010]. I hope my afterlife is like that, and all my good dogs will come and knock me down and cover me with kisses. I have Shevin’s poem taped to my monitor and read it every morning. Thank you for publishing it so that all of us dog lovers can dream we’ll someday see them again.