Giving Thanks

Thursday, November 25, 2010

(for Stella)

When I woke up, my thoughts were oracular.
There's so much I've yet to be grateful for, things
like circumstance and dogged joy and birth and--
I'll say it-- death. (Is approaching grateful
the same as grateful?) This is the holiday of, "Oh,
I forgot to notice you and your labored breathing
there in the corner." But really, I did notice you--
how your eyes seemed to point in two different
directions sometimes; your hound
tendency to just want to keep moving in
a straight line, nose toward the ground, away
from the house; how you hunkered in
joy and smiled a little and were your own fur-
covered secret of small pleasures and
longing and some smelling, flop-eared version
of love. What if on your last day, you got
a bath and were talked to sweetly and chewed
two of three bones you were offered?
What of being with ones who saw you young
and saw you old, who bailed you out of jail,
who lay on the floor with your animal body,


  1. this is heartbreakingly beautiful.

  2. Oh honey, it gives me chills.

  3. A gorgeous elegy (elegy in waiting?).

  4. Tracy directed me here this morning, as I've very recently watched one set of friends put down their beloved greyhound, and am now supporting another set as they decide the appropriate time (today? tomorrow? two weeks from now? a month? a year?) to say good-bye to their treasured hulk of a mutt, whose legs have stopped working. Almost.

    This was sweet and melancholy comfort. Thanks.

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  6. Thank you for the comments, everyone. Stella died the night before Thanksgiving, and it was quite a shock, even though she was old and had been sick for some time.

    I'm glad the poem is a comfort, Christy. That's all a poet can ask. Losing a pet is so hard! I'm still not over having to put my cat to sleep a couple years ago. But we try to do the right thing for them. As one of my friends said, we're able to do this thing for pets (euthanasia) that we can't do for each other, and it's often the right and humane thing to do.


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