Challenge: Write a paean to a pet, past or present.
I have written at least three poems about this friend of mine already, but I could write dozens more, so…
William Doglas Bowers
I was his man Gary just as much as he was my dog Bill. He once stopped
Dead in his tracks after he sprang from the screen door after a cat, because when I said, “Bill! No!”
it was more than a command. A tether, not a leash, connected us.
My daughter Kate gave him his name. His full name, William Doglas Bowers, had the same rolling cadence
As General Douglas MacArthur. It almost always suited him. But when he cowered
Against me, trembling, needing more shelter than our house, during a crack-lightning thunderstorm,
he was Bill, the big waif, and I felt huge
that I could stop his trembling with my arms.
I sentenced him to lethal injection after the heart-rippingest week of our time together. He was ribs and uncontrollable saliva and neverbebetter,
and again there was no trembling as he ceased, and he never closed his eyes, he just left, and then it was one of those orange Costco-y carts
to get his body to the parking lot, and then a hoist into the back
of the pickup, and home, and a plaster pawprint all claws, because
I couldn’t press hard enough, because I still didn’t want to hurt him, and then easing him
into the hole my friend and I had dug the day before, and words
from my daughter and my then-wife and me,
and then reuniting William Doglas Bowers with the Earth.
Three months later, walking with my daughter, I burst into tears. I hadn’t been thinking of him, but his name came up.
Eleven years later, here we are. I use my mind
to hologram him hrumphing contentedly
at my feet. I blink and blink.