Dog Years

In the middle of the night her bark was one
that seemed to reach the point of ecstasy.
Fireworks and wind-chimes frightened her,
our little dog who lived through the changes,
devoured chocolate and Pavlova,
loved to lick the honey jar.
Because dog years add up to so many
when she was old we thought she was young
– our terrier with grinding jaw, toothed grin,
who preferred to amble, never run,
whose silent five-word prayer was Give the dog a bone.
She slept with one eye open
to see the small, thin birds of spring
and with masterstrokes of nose and tongue
sought attention, and pawed me when
I was in the middle of a Berryman Dreamsong
of homage and soft remorse
or one of Brodsky’s sonnets to Mary Queen of Scots.

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