26: l., 2005
we could have been closer,
i wasn’t allowed to sleep with you until i left school,
and by then the rules had relaxed.
you went from crying in the bathroom to
curled up inside a pillowcase,
cocoa-muzzle, head cocked.
when i fought with my sister or they fought with me
or they fought with each other,
you would worry your white-flecked tail tip,
soggy and wretched, eyes aglow.
when i fought when them, you would howl,
mostly, i would howl back.
what i needed, what you needed, neither of us could provide;
but you were there after school,
i was the first person you saw after a long day,
and we whiled away the secrets together,
futon, cozy bed,
the last living reminder of a family of four.
i’ll think to myself, my mother needs another dog,
but what she needs is intangible,
the trust that comes with
many quiet nights;
and rustling movement under blankets, the clicking
nails on the floor.