Dogs are natural scavengers
 They have the stomach for it
I remember Beth swallowed some
 decaying squirrel whole
Its tail hanging out of her mouth
 for the longest time
Nothing ever became of it

I always wondered where the deer went
 when they died
The forest was always
 a pantheistic land of wonder
As the snow tickled our noses
 Lexie was nowhere to be found
I laughed it off and yelled for her
 Then yelled and yelled
 Then ran and abruptly stopped
Lexie tenderly edging toward the deer carcass
 Shy even
Then the bump on the bridge of her nose appeared

A couple months later,
 in an unusual spring heat
Lexie leaves the trail
 With a straightforward earnestness
We walk an unfamiliar side–path
Cross an undiscovered stream
Another carcass prone to the sun
A vulture crouched in an adjacent tree
Impatient for our departure

The bump on her head reappeared at the top
 Lexie was given two months to live
And, at that other river,
 Her jaw too weak to grip
 the large branches so much a part of her
This third carcass
 Peaceful, laying amid the thorns
One does not begrudge one condemned to death
 to take their fill of death
Not one lick of impropriety

We filled our days with walks
We denied ourselves none of our walks
 We partook


In the dawn of humanity,
we crowned you
with stories of
how meaningful you were.

Grown clever and independent,
we decried you
with critical analysis:
you are just a ball of hot gas.

Now that I’ve seen your dark side,
after I’ve recovered from the shock
— neither I nor you, nor our galaxy
are the center of the universe —

Let me embrace you as in my youth.
Let me swoon in your warmth.
Let me re-understand the
truth of your fairy tales.
Let the life you created and nurtured

Night Fetching

It’s a pleasant night
 First one in a while
I haven’t taken Lexie fetching
 for a while either — overworked
So, instead of taking a right
 we take a why not
Can’t see a moon to light our way
 but the suburb lights reflect in the pink clouds
Park closed at dark
 Park Authority
 I'll tell them I didn’t see
I don’t even know if she’ll want to fetch
 She’s all sniffs
 I let her off leash —
  no running to the stream
 As we pass it by
  She shyly deviates tween
  path and brook
Only when I go off–path
 does her tail wag
 and her feet scamper to water
I᾿m surprised to find the stream half–frozen
 a sheet of ice spreads towards the middle
No sticks around, so I climb onto the tree
 fallen across the stream
 and fetch one there amidst the debris
Will she need daylight to see
 or is it some other sense?
I throw it into the stream
 and she fetches it back
I throw it in again; she’s taking a while
 she needs daylight, I guess
Here comes Lexie dragging this
 mythical log
Strange, pure, hewn branch
 from the river bottom
Not waterlogged, just heavy in solidity
 She can’t even drag it out of the water
 just up to the shore
 and tears off half its bark in one bite
So, over and over, mythical log
 to be dredged from the bottom
 of icy river on beautiful night
Headlights peek at me for a while and fade
 an ambulance siren blares
 a police copter circles around
Mocking my fears — no one cares
Lexi scampers around the sheet of ice
 not finding the branch in the depths
“Get it!” I cheer, and she goes in and drags it out again

Jupiter and Io

Not everyone needs
 to be overwhelmed
 by thunder and lightening
Something tender
  and familiar
 strong but approachable
We wink at one another
and smile at how crafty
 such a powerful being in love is
Considerate, rather