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A Poem: Getting Tired
I see it in your eyes and in your walk
Barkleigh (right) and Beecher shared the planet for a time.
I see it in your eyes
and your walk,
the way you close them more quickly,
walk more slowly,
the way you insist,
even while exhausted,
on following me everywhere--
even as I dash around,
putting olives, nuts, and homemade caramel corn in the living room,
stuffed peppers, corn casserole, and paprika potatoes in the dining room,
dishes on the side bar, candles in the lav,
as I put out more chairs
and relocate your pillows,
push your bowls against the counter.
 
Even after hours of dining, singing, of talking
about our goals and ghosts and who we were
300 years ago,
even after you rouse from your nap and crawl out
from beneath my arm,
after walking with our guests to the Magic Tree
to lose ourselves for a moment in a million colored lights,
even as I struggle to pick up the plates and put away the perishables,
You struggle harder.
 
So I carry you up to bed.
 
By the time I have brushed my teeth,
you are sound asleep against my pillow,
with those slightly wheezy exhalations
you have sometimes started to make
 
and I could give a damn about the stiffening food, or parties, or anything.
 
Today, I am tired, too. 
You have less to do
as I slow myself down so you will rest,
as I stop to sit on the floor beside you,
touch your silky peach hair
under your homemade blue sweater,
as I watch you, curled up and content in your stuffed chair,
your eyes half closed, but watching me
writing this.
 
(You are now woofing in your sleep.  I stop this poem
to watch and listen, to wonder what you are dreaming.)
 
My Beecher Boy, I see Barkleigh in you, again.
I see him in your sometimes clinginess,
the way he was at exactly your age--14.
 
This week it hit me in the car, as your squeals of delight
were a little more piercing.
It hit me hard:
like Bark, you are loudning to hear yourself better.
At some point, this will stop,
along with your clear, expressive voice--
and I will need to stomp on the floor and clap my hands
to tell you that I’m behind you
or in front of you
or there at all. 
 
I comfort myself right now
only with my unyielding certainty
that you, like Boo, are
with me forever. 
 
(January 2011)

 

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Elizabeth Patnoe doted on Barkleigh and now dotes on Beecher in Columbus, Ohio–often at Whetstone Park, with its dog-centered community. She earned a Ph.D. in English from Ohio State University, where she taught English and participated in an assortment of academic activities and where she now is a nurse in neuropsychiatry.
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Submitted by Billy carson | April 4 2011 |

Very moving and beautiful...thank you Elizabeth

Submitted by Ron | April 7 2011 |

Wonderful and reflective....Welcome back to your calling....

Submitted by br. Ray | April 7 2011 |

That's my sister everybody. She is such a testimony to how people should care for and love their dogs. Beacher and Barkley both know/knew how lucky they are/were to have her as their trail guide here on earth. People in general could take a lesson on how to love more fully from Elizabeth.
from, her brother Ray :-)

Submitted by Carolyn | April 7 2011 |

Your poem meant a lot to me as I too, watch my Maggie struggle as she ages.

Submitted by Nancy P. | April 7 2011 |

Thanks Elizabeth for a lovely poem.

Submitted by Bobbi | April 9 2011 |

This is lovely.
You've done Barkleigh and Beecher proud
and helped your readers love their pets even more.

Submitted by Vita from Whets... | April 10 2011 |

This was very touching. A song of old age, when dogs and people alike are easier overlooked in the subtle ways they express themselves...Thank you for reminding us that we need to keep watching and listening and empathizing.

Submitted by ensie | April 19 2011 |

This brought tears to my eyes. We put our 10 year old beloved dog, Jeffrey to sleep last week. I miss him with every part of me.

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