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My daughter walks up the drive to meet me.

Mom, she says, I have a pet.

She is dragging an old pump

attached to a long black electrical cord.

Meet Pumpy, she says.

Hello Pumpy, I say. She pulls

the red and black cylinder into her arms.

I am trying to prove to you

that I am ready to be a dog owner, Mom.

I am going to take Pumpy for walks

every night and every morning

and give him a bath in the river. Come.

She puts the pump back on the ground

and yanks it up the drive, calling,

Come boy. Good Pumpy.

When we get to the top of the drive,

she picks up Pumpy to cross the street.

You know, she says, the street

is a dangerous place.

And then we walk up the dirt hillside.

There, she finds an old deer bone

and helps Pumpy to bury it.

Mom, she says, what do you think?

I think my heart is breaking

with the purity of her desire.

I think the evening light

makes everything more beautiful.

I think it is hard to say no

to something our loves really want.

No, I say. We can’t get a dog.

But you will be a great dog owner someday.

She knew this would be the answer,

and says, Come, Pumpy,

there’s more to explore.

And though it’s getting dark,

we walk deeper into the woods.

 

 

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How Long Can It Last?

They had razor-sharp teeth
and powerful jaws,
those words I almost
let charge out of my mouth.
They were looking
at your neck, your chest.
And then, with my hand
reaching to undo the leash,
I noticed through
the window how the juniper
is more silver than green.
It’s a silly thing, but
it stopped me long
enough to notice how
the silence, too, has
a silvery hue. And
for that second, I chose
not to fill it with gnashing.
Not the next moment
either. Suddenly, in every
moment, there is more
to notice. The words
follow my gaze and perk
up their ears. We all get
very quiet. None of us want
to miss a thing.

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