To All the Dogs on the Bank, by Debi Swim

To All the Dogs on the Bank
by Debi Swim

There’s a dog howling
I walk through the house
looking out windows
trying to see where it is
I can’t pin down its direction
I relax
then the howling begins again
somewhere in the trees
but the trees are all around
and I can’t decide if it is
from the housing development
on the hill behind poplars
or the house to the right
hidden by maples and pines
where a dog is kept tied up
or behind the house
where sometimes
dogs chase after the deer
through the trees and underbrush
baying and howling
like the hounds of hell
then I remember
the dogs
buried on the hillside
and across the road
beloved little dogs
life cut short by cars
one by illness
one by my permission
eighteen years old
with so many things wrong
but all I can see are brown eyes
that loved me, trusted me,
and he lies in a favorite
blanket, snug, turning
back into dust
maybe that was goodbye
or a howl of outrage
or a greeting to the other dogs
that romp and run these woods
on phantom paws
and I wish I could be buried
on a bank between the woods
and howl my delight
or outrage
and run on phantom feet
through the woods and underbrush.

Process notes: “A Dog Has Died”, By Pablo Neruda
The last dog we will probably ever have died in Dec 2018. He, and other dogs we have loved, are buried on our property. I love that they are near.

Debi Swim writes poetry in West Virginia, mostly to fabulous prompts. Blog:

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