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When Did I Fall In Love With You?
Poems: Valentine, Last Call and Leaving Alice

Last Call

It's ten p.m.
and my dog is telling me what to do.
You can't go to bed, she says,
until Davey has his pills
and I can't
until you have your cocoa,
so Sit!  Stay!
till I tell you it's okay.
That's better.
Good girl.
I know everything
that's done in this house
and the mouse
that lives under the tv
is my friend.

Valentine

When did I fall in love with you?
Was it when I saw you bundled
nose to bottom with your brothers
or the moment you decided to detach,
explore, and I admired your intellect,
aplomb?  Or was it when at last
you discovered – not me, exactly,
but my toes – and waddled over
for a nibble, spaniel mine?
You found I had two feet,
finished one, then started on the other.
Licking my toes became your sacrament,
sandals that led me into the barn
that hot June morning, my salvation.

Leaving Alice

A cry of anguish as I leave the house …
Alice, my dog of thirteen years,
is ninety-one in human terms and nearly
blind --  her world, the vet says, seen
through dark glasses.  I used to celebrate
her independence, but now she clings
as if each separation means forever.

I always say a careful goodbye before
going down our path to get the mail,
tell her we’ll meet outside as I go
out the front and she through her own
back door – but still she cries until
I’m in her view and she in mine.
We hold our hearts together, she and I.

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Photo by Tony Harrison / CC

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