An old blonde dog takes care of me.
I found him starving in the snow.
His face is scarred, his hips protrude.
His joints are stiff. Doddering along,
he lists a bit, and more and more
he is incontinent.
Yet when I’m most alone, he brings me
his old polar bear, the sock
he likes to chew. His white chin fits
my darkest aches, and settles there.
And here you are
outside the Sovereign Bank
in the night-blown rain, old now; almost unable
to grip your million blossoms,
bride whose groom, spring after blustery spring,
doesn’t show up;
what can you do
but stand there, idly fashion one more
sapwood ring of your own, and keep on
I slid the white louvers shut so I could stand in your closet
a little while among the throng of flowered dresses
you hadn’t worn in years, and touch the creases
on each of their sleeves that smelled of forgiveness
and even though you would still be alive a few more days
I knew they were ready to let themselves be
packed into liquor store boxes simply
because you had asked that of them,
and dropped at the door of the Salvation Army
without having noticed me
wrapping my arms around so many at once
that one slipped a big padded shoulder off of its hanger
as if to return the embrace.