Love Poem To My Dog

Love Poem To My Dog

(Click above for an audio recording of my reading this poem.)

There is a place

Where I live, alone, yet with

Others so afflicted.

We straddle a torturous bypass we all

One day must make,

Never knowing

When we will fall into the decaying river of life,

When our exit.

In this way, yes, sudden, like a blood splayed

Car crash, or a hummingbird

Flying into the forest reflected in the window glass, at last.

But arriving, getting here,

Bound to this cliff, perched on this rock

— (Where are the sea nymphs,

To wail for me, as for Prometheus?) —

Has been a dripping away,

Like a slowly leaking faucet.

Years of laying waste, wasted

Decades of laying in one’s own coffin

Top ajar, coming and going, sometimes

Standing at the edge of the grave

With one’s friends and family, mourning,

The next moment levitating up and flying away

Like one of those women

Chagall painted.

Days blend into months,

Months into years.

One boundless joy,

My dog:

My dog’s woolly scent,

Come in from the rain,

Fragrant as honeysuckle.

My dog’s spirit, free,

Like the wild stormy sea.

My dog’s eyes, chestnut brown,

Like the fertile soil under which my spring lupines abound.

My dog’s body, like one of those plush hush puppy

White-combed sheep rugs

I begged my parents for,

Forty-five years ago,

Which I longed to crawl into,

And disappear.

My dog’s snout, soft as the back of a tufted titmouse,

My dog’s nose, dense chocolate, velvety black, leading the way,

Starlight in a moonless night.

My dog’s ears, upright, like downy turtledoves.

My dog’s paws…

Ah, how every lover of Dog

Adores the musty odor on the pads on their beloved’s feet, and

Should I bottle the scent of my dog’s paws, capture the smell of

Those moist scent pads

At the bottom of this Alaskan Malamute’s enormous paws,

I would be a famous woman.

Alas. My dog’s tail,

Once a gracious youthful flip of thick Malamute fur,

Now a naked hollow thump

On the wood floor.

       © Susan Lynn Gesmer, Love Poem To My Dog, 2003

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