Maybe, Maybe

by | Dec 12, 2023 | Issue Thirty-Six, Poetry

I might find another dog. Maybe next year, after I’ve finished
with this year’s therapist, done with all that talking about the
unsuccessful talking I’ve done with other people, maybe I’ll be
stripped down to just walking or sitting and saying Good dog!

There’s a kind of immortality to my dreams and it feels like
those so-called eternal moments when dreaming I am running
and laughing with Rusty or Fiona, good dogs, good dogs, loyal
and loving, or at least I believe in it being real, tangible, reliable,

and it occurs to me maybe I’ve failed in that kind of willingness
to believe when it comes to humans. When the heart dies it’s a
foreboding riddle, when the brain dies it’s Merry Christmas— 
everything distilled down to your childhood, be it happy or sad,

peppermint or coal, and in yesterday’s session I remembered
taking Rusty to the “home” my great grandmother had been
remanded to when in 1972 she woke up in 1944 and liked it so
much she stayed. Rusty understood boyhood, disliked my father,

and instantly befriended Nano that afternoon. We sat with her
for hours saying next to nothing, just hand holding and smiling.
Later in the 70s I’d be wrecked by booze, acid, coke, merciless
friends and lovers, and so-so-so many lies, so much smack talk,

back talk, back stabs and cash grabs, and I paid less attention
to Rusty, then he died and I got confused, climbed a mountain,
laid in the cold wet grass alone to sleep for years and years—
at last got up, descended, looked for some river to float down.

I found a stray, called her Fiona! She adopted me and next
thing you know I stopped talking and found a human who said
I love you. I was with Fiona while she died and told her I’ve
told you everything I could never tell anyone, and she knew,

she knew. Said none of this to my therapist. Maybe next year
will be the year, another year of silence with a one-man dog.

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