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Friday, December 16, 2016

Old with Animals

We all see the stories
of old women
who have cats by the bale
that rule every corner
of a uncontrolled house
or the old man
who only leaves his chair
to let the dog out
that grows gray
along with his owner

When the furry face
no longer sits in a lap
or lays its head on a leg
for a scratch on the head
a woman will busy
herself in undone projects
to forget the loss
and a man will pull
a few hairs from his beard
conveniently stuck together
with drops of yoke
to feel the pain of loss
he stifled every day
of manhood

But what of the people
who are allergic
to furry box huggers
or who can't walk
a dog in places
where the dog
must be on a leash
to be in the sun or snow

Even a goldfish
in a bowl or tank
discovered to be floating
by a homebound
elicits tears
that enter a bubbling tank
unnoticed by no one
when in other years
a parent would flush
and replace
before the end day
school bell rang

The little friends
who just breathe
in the same room
keep love alive
when working children
and world-exploring grandchildren
never call and never write

The old call it justice
for the same treatment
they lavished on their family
in days of work and growth
with the stillness of snowfall
seen through blurring eyes

a bored dog's sigh
the flick of a cat tail
the burp in a bubbling tank
reminds those forgotten
that forgetful family
will get theirs
as an evil laugh
races silently through
a graying head

Barry G. Wick

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