Arriving home at 4am with the ghost
weight of my dog gone flaccid in my arms
after I said Yes to the needle, ending twelve hours
of seizure, eleven years of companionship,
just as I had said Yes to the nurse who removed
the lone breathing tube keeping my mother alive,
I drank myself to sleep, dreamed my dog crossed
a meadow, smooth grassy stalks swaying lightly,
seed heads anointing the ridge line of her back.
In the sparkle of dawn, vague gray forms,
her pack, rustled the underbrush around her.
She raised her head, mouth parted in dog-smile,
tongue flopping, turned from my gaze to bound off
through the swishing wildflowers.
This is what I need – belief that everyone
I have betrayed still runs gracefully
through a wilderness kinder than the one
I offered, that the pulse of love is released
into a welcoming meadow. When the wren chirps
my name, both syllables, and the morning dove soothes
its blue coo through my bedroom screen, I want to believe
there is something beyond grief over where I failed
to save the ones I loved in my life.