Posts Tagged ‘pet’




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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Three Inadequacies




slumped on my chest

the body of the girl

not quite so limp

as the weight of her pet

still almost warm




no less permanent

this death of a body

so small




the dull weight of sorrow,

wishing it would come soon

to replace this burn


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You are not snuggly
nor cuddly, don’t fetch,
don’t do tricks,
but for three years
you have followed us
around the kitchen
with your bulgy eyes,
and you’ve outlived
every other fish.
You have carried
the weight of a young
boy’s love and appear
to have found peace
inside a cage. These
days watching you list
and rest are painful,
heartrending days. It’s not
your way to caress or kiss,
but it’s human to want to hold
what is dying. It’s human
to want to nurture what hurts.
And how human we are,
sitting beside you, gulping
the terrible air, huddled
into each other, holding
what love we can.

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