Wild Refusal of Death

My dog is dying

but he’s taking too long.

For two years I’ve catered to his liquid separation anxiety,

and his inability to haul himself to his grippy sticker covered pads.

I’ve fed him his medications,

laid him upon his soft round bed,

slowed my breathing in an attempt to calm his startle.

He’s deaf.

He’s mostly blind.

He still kicks like a mule.

My neck hurts.

I almost tweaked my lower back lifting him this morning.

That twinge tried to suck out my breath.


When have I last slept a full night?

He wanders, bumping headlong into walls,

the bed frame,

a chair.

Still he pushes, unrelenting.

Forward, forward, forward!

He pants hard.

He wets his diaper.

The neighbors wheel their geriatric dachshund in a baby stroller.

They say they are up every night, too.

They say caring for their old dog makes them better people.

In the night I face my darkness

and dry my old dog’s urine soaked underbelly.

I toss the fist and the soiled diaper into the void

and lay my unfurled hand upon his head.

To calm his panting,

To reassure him that we’re both still here,

To ease him back into sleep.

We wake to the delectable anguish of another day


When he dies it will be too soon.



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