Coming down to breakfast I saw in your gape what rictus meant, old dog, and in my own at your presence flat and stiff on the kitchen floor.
That was the first indignity. Then how I dragged you through everything that mattered and out the door, and fitted you to my firewood cart, startled
by how flexible you were in some new places (almost as though agreeing to the journey), before I could get you up the path to the car and refit you there. All the way
to the vet’s with windows open, then onto the stretcher headed for the ashes; no treats this time from the vet’s aides for Magnus, the handsome border collie, and no hugs from the formerly libidinous you.
This afternoon as I was thinking that heaven wouldn’t be worthwhile without you, the puppy was gamboling down the beach [End Page 560]
with your favorite ball. But the final indignity will be the day I stop stepping over the places where you were. [End Page 561]
Brendan Galvin is the author of sixteen collections of poems. Habitat: New and Selected Poems 1965–2005 was a finalist for the National Book Award. His Cape Cod crime novel, Wash-a-shores, is available on Kindle, and The Air’s Accomplices, a collection of new poems, is forthcoming from LSU Press.