Our dog, Lacie, died this past week. Lacie and my wife, Traci, were best friends. I used to joke that Lacie is the only one in the world that Traci loves more than she love me. I wrote this poem in memory of Lacie, imagining what she might say to Traci now.
Here where I am,
Beneath the cedars and the hickories,
The pink and flowered dogwood by the way,
Beside the path that you have raked,
The bench you set,
You can just see
Across the hills, the pasture with the cows
Where I once went to call, that autumn day
I ran away, chasing some birds.
You looked for me,
And found me there,
Away and visiting the cows, my friends,
As I would call them. I could make new friends
Anywhere, a standard, they say
Of my pure breed.
I loved it here,
In this cool forest, rabbits all around,
With leaves to chase, and shades in which to lie;
The bright butterflies I’d follow
And be happy.
I loved you too,
My dearest friend, and still love you. You saved me
From misery and gave me warmth and comfort.
But best of all, you knew my soul,
And I knew yours.
Did you notice –
I’m sure you did – the way I cared for you
When you and he came home from hospital,
Your baby gone, your womb empty?
Sitting with you,
Licking your face,
I never left your side, you needed me,
The way I needed you in my last days,
When you, in return, stayed with me,
Stroking my fur
As my heart failed.
A heart too full of love to beat forever,
Not slowed so much by heart murmurs as by
The deep compassion held for you,
My constant love.
And I can say
Now that I’ve entered the mystic beyond:
The love you have shown me, and I’ve shown you,
I now give to your little child.
She’s here with me,
So do not fear.
The two of us – both she and I – together
Know you and pray for you always. So visit
This lovely spot you made for me,
This arbor grave,
And speak to me,
And we will hear, and somehow be together
Where hickory and cedar trees give cover.
The love we had will never end,
My dearest friend.