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Dog Down

"Nai’a was she, 'dolphin' in Kamehameha’s tongue"

Published onOct 20, 2019
Dog Down


We put the dog down yesterday
Cancer in the gut ate her up
Slowed only by CBD, the miracle elixir
that gave us six moons more to howl with gusto and glory

Nai’a was she, “dolphin” in Kamehameha’s tongue,
a name we learned in Fiji, and liked and would have named our daughter
a child who turned out to be a boy named Milo
a name I chose a dozen years before his birth
and eventually convinced my woman was just right

In the hours before the vet arrived
Nai’a watched with sad tired eyes
as I dug the grave, in her favorite spot
next to the fence near the Pelican Gate and beside the bottle brush tree
who’s ruby blossoms gave her just enough cover
to jolt the mailman and other passers-by
with a bark that would wake the dead
as only a German Shepherd can make

She sighed with gentle approval as I shoveled dirt, sitting awkward, uncomfortable, the bloat of her belly and swell of her right front paw giving truth the state-of-affairs we could no longer deny

It ended well, or as well as can be, no dry well in this tsunami of tears

This morning I woke before dawn and ventured outside alone
Decided to write a poem, but no ink would flow. Decided to read a poem,
But Robinson Jeffers’ The House Dog’s Grave was just too damn sad,
the oration of William Carlos Williams’ Track jarring my soul’s need for quiet,
and even Billy Collins could not lift my spirits or hold my eyes
which kept glancing at the corner she where preferred to rest
wondering if maybe it all might be a dream

No dream. Nai’a is dead and gone
A spirit now, in the wind, in the starlight, in the halls of our memory
Forever young in our eyes.

DA Borer roams the shores of the Monterey Bay in California. His creative writing appears in The Write Launch, Montana Mouthful, Sonder Midwest, Dragon Poet Review, Rise Up Review, Coffin Bell Journal and Poetry Now.

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