by Anna M. Evans
A friend described my younger dog like this:
a very doggy dog. Of him, it’s true—
long walks, regular meals—he doesn’t miss
those higher human functions, unlike you,
who bark your orders, commandeer supplies,
and judge me with those disappointed eyes.
Grey-muzzled and arthritic now, you spend
whole days asleep, treat each step as a chore,
and worse, I know you sense your coming end.
You’re sullen as an aged mother-in-law
absorbed by when and how to take each pill.
You try my patience and I love you still.
Do you review your life? You emigrated,
moved house, saw babies come and children grow
to young adults. You’re fourteen, which translated,
approximates to ninety-eight or so.
Not long enough. I see myself, perhaps—
a woman’s life unfolding in time-lapse:
your puppy form that trembled on my knees
during the car ride home. You, in your prime,
chasing that swan away. Your surgeries.
Old age. You’re smart enough to rail at Time
for making you bad-tempered, stiff and weak.
I’ve dropped my long-held wish that you could speak.