You Only Want to Be Near


In March you are diagnosed with a tumor

And a ruptured meniscus.

Since you are already ten years old,

We choose not to treat.


Your thick blonde coat

Always made you suffer in summer,

And they tell us to be prepared

For a rapid decline in spring.


We consider letting you go

Before the southern heat strikes,

But soon you have figured out

How to climb the back steps again.


Nine months later you are still

Doing fine. You are delighted

When November brings the

First freeze. You sit out


By the gate at six a.m.

And listen to the birds;

You can’t wait for your walk;

Each new smell on the block


An amazing symphony,

A gift of God or some

Other brilliant composer,

Deserving wags of thanks.


One cold morning I am

The one who is sick.

I know you want to go out

For your walk, but you see


Me still lying in bed. Your winter days 

Are precious; I only have the flu.

You sigh and curl up next to the bed.

You only want to be near.


        Nov. 7, 2010