* * * * *

Beau dies

When I leave for three months
in southeast Asia
I ask Beau to wait until my return
Before leaving this Earth
Although we also say our goodbyes.
About a week before my return
My ex-wife emails me
Not sure Beau will make it
And while I am flying home 
The always happy,
always kind and affectionate,
highest jumper in his class,
the fleet of foot gentleman 
who understood far more than he could show,
our Beau takes his last breath.
He looks palsied in death
Eyes opened
Lips parted
His fur as soft and golden to the touch
As it has ever been
Legs stretched out 
In the way he would love to do
You can see him shaking with pleasure
wrapped in a sheet
then buried in the yard
Between two cedar trees
With some dog food 
A seashell from the Indian Ocean
His collar and tags still on him
And a piece of the rare candy
He’d sometimes delight in the sugary first rush of
Licking his lips
And then grimacing with disdain 
for the bitter ginger aftertaste. 
Life’s like this I think
as we cover him with earth
and a stone with his name on it, 
painted with his favorite red nail polish, 
a libation of red wine,
sandalwood incense burning,
and two hawks who soar high in the sky
circling over Beau’s buried body
calling “he flies with us now”
for their fallen brother.
He was such a good dog.

a poem is born

I say a poem is born
By describing what you have sensed or seen
And by never saying the word it
Without describing what “it” is
The pumpkin pies you made
Baking and playing until two in the morning
With a home grown pumpkin
And its roasted seed
Feeding warm pie by the spoonful
To the lover you’ve awakened
Seeing yellow squash flowers
Among the riot of purple morning glories
In the fall gardens
Which greet the day
Crows standing pensively
Rocking back and forth on their toes
In black wing tipped dress shoes
Hands intertwined behind their backs
Engaged in a familiar dialogue
About road kill
The harbor
And their diving neighbors, the cormorants.
A black Scottish terrier with white eyebrows
Who jumps into your lap
Rolls onto her back, and says,
“Please rub my belly.”
Which you do, of course,
After up-rooting small flowering plants
That you feel the irresistible need to pot and love
After the demonstration
Calling for corrupt bankers
To hold very long meetings inside federal jail cells
After yoga, and music,
And even an unwelcome creeping sense of paranoia
That emerges on its own timetable
And dissipates of its own accord
At the end of a good day
A present day
Where pain and stiffness were at a minimum
The mail was taken to the post office
And you, a man approaching death with hands raised high
In the universal sign of surrender,
Were truly and warmly welcomed home.