Friday, November 11, 2005

The Apparition

True to his word, our vet

comes in late afternoon

and kneels in a slant of sun.

A pat, a needle stick

stills the failing heart.

We lower the ancient form

to the hemlock-shrouded grave

and before the hole is brimmed

set a layer of chicken wire

to guard against predators

so that the earth we broke

reforms, a mild mound.

The rock we place on top,

common glacial granite,

is mica-flecked and flat.

That night the old dog works

his way back up and out,

gasping, salted with dirt,

and barks his familiar bark

at the scribble-scratched back door.

I pull on shirt and pants,

a Pavlovian response,

and stumble half awake

downstairs to turn the knob

where something, some mortal stub

I swear I recognize,

some flap of ear or fur,

swims out of nothingness

and brushes past me

into its rightful house.

--Maxine Kumin

(Atlantic Monthly, December 2003)

I found this poem, and it reminded me that it was
this time of year - 2002 - when Marcus came, bringing the pink needle --
late Autumn afternoon light slanting in across the flagstone
to where she lay, her breath laboring, beautiful Sandy letting go, we say goodbye, those brown eyes trusting us.

For The Time Being: my poem from those days, Fall 2002

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