Dead Dog and Other Stories
My mother, then vital in the way you forget,
bursts the door, in such a way
as I know I will be beaten, and forced to grow up.
It is noon, as good as: or past.
But the shafted sun of summer spikes the velvet green curtains.
The dust, and my father's cigarettes turn in endless kaleidescope.
And there lays our dog.
On the matched green carpet,
(on whose ridges I drive cars, in jams)
slow breathing, solemn eyed,
each belly filling breath exposing skin.
On it's side the dog lain.
It's white eyed wonder, at how
wandering to the warm spot at the centre of the room
it now lays,
behind the shadow of my mother's chair.
And why this boy, it saw born,
is now kneeling with tearful eyes
and not laughing
at the matted snow of fur ploughed around shined black nose.
Or passing unproved pastry from the rolling table
in which all weights are learned on balanced scales.
Too cruel, is death's first lesson:
for a child alone as a mother runs for help.
For what can a child do!
Who each day lives with wanton death:
as brief as flick'd finger
the plastic soldier falls.
It is only polite in the playground
to provide, with one's genuine friends,
an most heroic gargled end, with two tumbles.
But those deaths have rules.
Real death, does not.
What I remember is the light.
With my mouth to the dog's ear,
and my hand stroking that familiar fur,
intoning, 'do not die, do not die. do not die',
Perhaps when my mother dies -
assuming I survive her -
and I have read more of Freud, without laughing,
I might explore the fracture of the heart I felt expire
in the descending darkness of the moment:
when flesh moves more from life
and that pulse switches off;
no matter where one lays ones hand
one feels less response.
The coldness on the despairing face
when found in place
of not holding place
and lacking in one's duty.
And kept in one's room, from the dog.
Until your father comes home
and half praises, half condemns: your failure
to keep alive
the dog he bought
to not love your mother.