All those years—paw of again, paw of let’s go,
of lake-plash, of come throw, perked ear
of what’s that? of yanked back who’s that?
unsettled pacer of storms, investigator of grass,
distinguished scholar of curbside, delighted
roller in the perfume of foul, sleek
fetcher, sock chewer, under table sleeper,
taut leaper into air & pond—then, all at once,
it became her turn & the reliable
body began—the unimaginable undoing;
while we—scratchers of belly & ear, callers of hey,
come back, diligent trainers of down & come,
companions of dawn, partners of rain,
& errand, stick throwers, ball wranglers,
chair readers & nappers,
while at our feet with twitch & yelp,
she rustles through the high grass of dream—
understood it was now our turn,
which meant—as it does with each animal sorrow
—doing the unimaginable.
Copyright © 2022 by Victoria Redel. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 21, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.