68: coma, interlude 9


my, my father’s, my mother’s,
my brother’s dog, a great
Labrador retriever
goes down the stairs
he’d always feared
like a fat horse.
And then under the sun
I wrap that kindhearted thickness
of him
with my arms
to some (just some) resistance,
then I feel
his muscles under my muscles
relax and I pull him close
to my chest hard,
so hard I want to consume
him, crush him
through the cage of my ribs,
press him so hard
he will never
escape again.
If we could just remember
to hold them harder.

I wake up
with his weight
on my chest
and the muscles
of my arms rigid,
tears in my eyes,
the ghost weight
of him following me
out, but it’s the heaviness
of his never coming home,
his never to appear again,
the vast span of his notness,
the dream so real I could
smell his mouth
and the dog wax of his ears,
and sense against my heart
the diminishment of his resistance,
the soft concession of the powerful neck,
as if in the dream
he was giving me a change
to ask under the sun his forgiveness
for all my mistakes,
for all the words I’d wished I’d given,
for all the time I’d wasted,
for all the fears that had beaten me back,
for all the reservoirs of good self
I’d shoved aside for some dumber
choice, and with the weight of that dog
against my chest and the smell of ears
in my nose and the tickle of his whiskers
on my cheek, I thought of my brother,
and I wish I’d been there,
been there to take the fire for him.
I think, maybe,
the dog would’ve loved me better for it.

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