under one of the cars in the driveway. A mutt. He
wouldn’t leave apparently because he had no
where else to go. I loved him on sight. Begged
to keep him. He was a good friend. We kept him outside
at night, chained with a long chain attached to the clothesline.
This was not cruelty but for his protection. He could move
freely and then settle into his warm, dry, strawed house whose roof
shingles matched ours. He was family and we let him in during the day
where he padded behind me wherever I went. From time to time as
the need arose, we let him out to do his business. He’d come back,
barking, to the door when done. But not this time. I realized
it had been longer than usual and went to look for him.
It took me a few moments to recognize the dark heap
in the middle of the street as him. Was he being silly or what?
I wondered as I whistled and called his name. His tail wagged,
slapped against the asphalt, but no other part of him moved.
As I came to the curb, I could see a pool of liquid around his head,
as if he were laying in a puddle of water. But it hadn’t rained and
I didn’t notice at first that the pool was red, his head split open,
the thought of life leaking out. I ran across the yard to the house
screaming. A passerby had stopped and gotten out of his car, approached
just as my parents came out. He said he’d seen the other car hit and run
and had stopped to see if there was anything he could do. He was kind,
the way most Hoosiers were then, and uncertain what to say, how to help.
But there was no help left for Prince. His tail had stopped wagging.
The stranger moved him to the curb.
A little later, Dad helped me wrap him up in an old towel,
carry him across the street into the woods where he remains buried.
My memories of him are somewhat blended with those of the one
or two other dogs that came after Prince. Or was it before?
But that moment of seeing, of sudden first confrontation with death,
is clear. As is the regret for ever letting him off his chain, letting him go
out of my sight, not watching over him as he needed to be watched.
* It’s PoMo! To learn about PoMo (POetry MOnday), click here. Pets come. Pets go. That is a reality that we learn as children. But when they go too soon, it is an especially hard lesson. How many pets have you lost over the years? What memories do you have of them? Please share your thoughts in the comments!
Note: I put the graphic and poetry quote at the bottom to preserve the line length of the poem. You may need to open your browser to the full width of your screen to ensure there are no line breaks.
Click here to read a sample chapter (PDF) from my forthcoming novel, “The Hungering Dark: Awakening.” To learn more about the book, go to TheHungeringDarkStory.com.
In the meantime here's a campaign I could get behind... POETRY: Make America Great Again!