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About this Poem 

"In this Mobius strip-like poem, I played with cutting away details, but in the end decided its less ambiguous subjects are integral to the overall DNA.  To pare down seemed to compromise the close(r)—with a pun on close-her—more unsettling temporal and spatial interconnections related to poetic 'pacing,' the breakup of a long-term relationship, and then the sudden loss of a young dog." 

Peter Covino

Closer

Peter Covino

 

In the end there was 
    a certain grace

splayed on the table
   unrecognizable

our beloved (pup)
   barely

five sedated on
   a manual respirator

unresponsive
  Phenobarbital

overdose in wait
  human hair

not fur its smell
   and luster

in spite of a final
   breath-less episode

just minutes before
   we arrived for our

nightly visit the ex and I
   he from across country

in case of the worst
  sweet pup

earlier in the day
   recognizing his hide

and seek whistle
   paw shake of recognition

cone headed oxygen
  tubes stapled to her nose

the ex fearing our last
   link too expiring

yes, a certain grace
   to release this spirit

from the metal
   vet emergency room cages

to sniff her hair
   in the last shallow

horror of breath 
   a stopped baby-like

heart all muscle
   and miles of hiking

reduced to toneless
  aspiration pneumonia

complication of—
  the ominous seriousness
 
released spirit etherized
   in the lingering smell

of the keepsake collar
   and blanket on the bed

at my feet where
  nightly she tried

to creep up
   pawing me still

Copyright @ 2014 by Peter Covino. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 31, 2014.

Copyright @ 2014 by Peter Covino. Used with permission of the author. This poem appeared in Poem-a-Day on July 31, 2014.

Peter Covino

Peter Covino’s most recent poetry collection is The Right Place to Jump (New Issues Poetry & Prose, 2012). He is an associate professor of English at the University of Rhode Island.

by this poet

poem
Cut off the ears of winter
they have overheard too much,
where incinerators burn,
where rubble-strewn streets
are covered in dust from the remodeling.
Again, the doe-man in mauve cashmere—
the nerve of him—in the never world 
(where ashes are harvested) where 
ashes rain down in glory, a jackpot
of answers.