Over the years I have had to care for many pets. My wife loved animals and our child had every kind of pet available, even a lop-eared rabbit who loved to chew electric wires in two. I could never understand why the animal never got electrocuted. Generally my daughter had cats and dogs. I always ended up caring for them. And I always ended up as their companion for most of their lives. Here are a couple of poems I wrote about those pets.
Striped gray fur flying through the air, landing lightly on a small table top. Chasing squirrels from window to window, Trapped inside, but afraid to go out. Calling to birds with a guttural chirp, cocking her ear as if they could hear. Seeming to wonder why they don't come, Ready to pounce, like a tiger hunting its prey.
Batting a crumpled paper across the floor, like a soccer player heading for a goal. Chasing a long lace of leather around a chair like a dog chasing its tail. Playfully poking her paw through the crack in a door, hoping you'll join her for a game of make believe. Play, play playin much of the day.
Sitting in the window when I return from a brief outing or a long sojourn.
Never coming to meet you, or show any concern. Seemingly aloof, as if to say, all I need is food, that's enough for me. But then she jumps into my lap and snuggles, or sleeps on a pillow near mine. And I think I'm okay in her eyes. She's my cat.
My Dog and I
Most mornings just about dawn, my dog and I walk in the town. Taking in the sights and sounds all as part of healthy exercise.
Rows of houses on large lots. Three different kinds on lawns of green, one a ranch, one two storied and third one in between.
The yards are cut, the trees are trimmed, the streets are lined with maple, elm and larch, old trees high into the sky, touching there to make an arch.
The early morning sun shines low through the branches, leaves and over the roofs. Latticed shadows fill the street lying at our feet, my dog and I.
In the winter, crisp and cold, chimmeys spew wisps of white, reflected by our breath as it appears. I bend into the wind, my dog behind.
In early spring we listen hard for sounds of birds that disappeared. Or look for buds in the early light. We straiten up, my dog at my side.
As the morning sun grows warmer, we listen to the birds and watch the gardens grow with flowers and herbs. Unburdened with my dog in front.
In the fall the air is cool and fresh. Colors of the trees grow bright.
There is a joy and sadness too, another year has parted for us two.
I watch my dog on these walks grow older as, indeed, I too. Her coat motley with gray, my hair hoary with each passing day.
Some day soon I'll walk alone. Sad but looking for the season's goods. Wondering when I won't be able to walk the streets of my neighborhood.