One Last Thing

“But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,

All losses are restored and sorrows end.”


March 2, 2016


A dog died today. The house is empty, hollowed out. The force that filled the rooms with movement, the simple knowledge of breath, is absent. Not Death per se, too dramatic. More a gap in the air where a warm pulse used to be. Gentle diminishing like a note of music, once sounded fades in the ear. The up and down that disturbed his fur, the whorl of browns, not one color but all shades of gold, amber, fox, white to gray, burnt toast with butter. A coat fit for a prince.


These colors rose up and down beneath my hand, the flutter of his heart slowed to a faint perceptible close. Soft, soft and then still.


Color drained from the inside of his ears. Went from pink to white so fast. That was shocking, the sudden loss of pink. His dark eyes fixed on nothing. Odd how the sightless look is clear to one who sees.


The pulse that filled the rooms of my house was pulled out the door on the wind that took him. Delicate and quiet. Not a storm but a floating breeze that went to the sunny blue porch and then into the sky. He became this beautiful day.


I remember the birds sang. Like idiots they sing, over and the over, the same song, as if they’re just trying to get it right. Or they can’t remember how it ends. They had no idea why they sang. They didn’t know that Lance, grand and glorious, poet, philosopher, Prince of the Bayou died today. Yet the birds’ voices, lyrical and daft, decorating the trees, seemed to carry him into the limitless sky.


For days now, my ears have been picking up the distant call of seagulls, whenever there is a lull in the domestic choir of chirping like tatted lace around my house. Far into the upper reaches of the air, floats down the raw, harsh complaints of those white trash seagulls. The sound breaks the lace, intrudes on my orderly home.


Always a contest between aesthetics and aggression. The local birds, let’s face it, are not much more than pretty. While the seagulls sound like warriors. Or real estate agents. They are vulgar, ravenous, canny, amoral. Survivors. Spiraling way above the rest of us, seagulls take the long view on things.


It’s a contest between the Choir of Poets and the Real Estate Agents. I know who will win. And I know who will survive.




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