good dog

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good dog

the dog is dying that’s all we can talk about
the dog pees all over the living room floor
and so we put plastic down and that’s all we
can talk about dolly was such a good dog
wasn’t she but she’s not dead yet it’s all we
can talk about the not-yet-dead dog that is
dying and peeing all over the living room
floor and how good the dog was and how
the dog always came when you called her oh
dolly what a good dog you were and she’s
not even dead yet you’re not even dead yet
are you good dog are you but we still talk
about you like you have gone into the past
quiet like your midnight excursions past the
piece of plastic to push your wet pup nose
against the sliding glass door and look out
at the blue patio at the bats that flit from
light to light at the edge of gramma’s
waning rosebushes and think to yourself I
was a good dog may they remember me
before I peed on the living room floor may
they think of the times I barked on
command for uncle mike may they think of
all the good straight walks I gave
counterclockwise round the block I walked
you right around the block dolly dog and
you are soon to be done dolly dog dad can’t
even talk about anything but to tell gramma
to look for yellow around the eyes that’s the
sign that jaundice has set in and then it’s
time for the one-way trip to the vet and the
neighbors have already volunteered since
gramma does not drive and grampa refuses
to make left-hand turns grampa of the heart
that is sucking itself inward and harder and
grinding itself to a nub and then the next
things will be white flowers and black cars
and maybe then we will talk about anything
other than the dog maybe then we will talk
about anything else maybe then we will talk
about what a good dad grampa was even
though he never peed on the carpet or got
yellow around the eyes

© 1997 by Halsted M. Bernard

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