Animal Mother

Animal Mother
Photograph of Ella the Wonder Dog by William Shunn (2009).

You love and give, and want it all,

Expecting nothing in return.

Your kind’s love is as full of the angels’

As ours lacks of kindness.

You took on a name that wasn’t yours

And made it mine to call you by.

Though you’re flawed in more ways

Than you’ll ever know,

You’re there and not there,

Around when I’ve needed you most—

More than you’ve needed me—

Slumbering sweet on my rug,

Next to my feet, and under my heart.

In the silence of your innocent stare,

You always know what to say,

Knowing me best by the tip of your wet nose

Than your densely foliaged irises.

Living life, basking in its shortness,

Not caring about its insignificance,

But clinging to its fullness;

Your endless affection—

Learned by wild rote more than noble rite—

Kindles still in my mind;

Kindred souls meant to hunt together,

Forever our flesh craved

The empty heat of the moon

Branding silhouettes on the quiet grass-blades:

Cutting, unmoved by our speed’s breeze;

Steeling before their trampling;

Bent, broken, ripped from the root

As the heart whose grip

Your weathered paws never trained me how

To release from its leash.  




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