We Should Not Outlive Our Dogs

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We Should Not Outlive Our Dogs

The pain is almost biblical, the perspective
like a god’s sitting

in his den of ubiquity, feet propped
on the footstool

of time. Smiley, the cur, who tried to kill me,
begat Lassie, the collie,

who bit our cousin, begat Missy, the mix
who was put to sleep,

begat Toto and Pepper, who were run over,
begat Twinkles, the lapdog,

who oversaw our father’s decline, begat Pockets
the puppy who could fit

in a pocket, begat Hank, the yellow lab with heart-
worms, a dog trusting and true

as a plumb line of ever-tasseled corn, stretching
from our house to the back

pasture where my brother took him for a walk
and shot him between the eyes.

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