What a long way we've traveled together,
from a pet shop window where you torpedoed
your small body toward my open arms,
to the tired old man unconscious in the OR.
We talked though, while you still knew I was at your side,
too frightened, I worked hard on promising you it was OK.
Leave if you must, I said,
Stroking your fur, looking at the tubes keeping you comfortable.
You raised your head slightly
and licked my nose.
I can live without you, I lied,
crying as silently as I could into your fur.
I counted blessings,
years of autumn days in Central Park.
Your puppy hood, then your manhood
retrieving millions of tennis balls in scummy water
Falling over cliffs and walking New York sidewalks
sharing dance classes, Tastee Delights and wagon rides
comforting each other in our new home,
exploring new places, always together.
They took you to the Rainbow Room for our final goodbye.
I cut your hair for my locket,
and inhaled the fragrance of your fur
to store for many future days
I looked at every part of your tired old body
and thought how very beautiful you were.
What a life we shared,
what memories of love I'll tuck away forever.