Where I Found You

Taken when she was still trying to work while going through treatment for ovarian cancer.

In the early morning hours of January 3rd, 2015 my wife, Karen passed away from ovarian cancer. On this day, the eighth anniversary of her passing, I decided to repost this poem. While no relationship may be perfect, I’ve come to realize perfection is found in the things people share. Karen and I shared our love of dogs, so of course, in a dream, I met her as I walked the dogs, and one day I’ll meet her again, but when that happens, she’ll be the one walking all the dogs.


I thought to find you on the path
between the heather patches.
You were not there.
I thought to find you along the roads 
from here to other places I traveled,
but there were no traces.
I thought to find you along the routes
where I walked the dogs.
Of course, there you were,
ready to laugh and say they loved you best--
as you always did.
Taking treats from your pocket,
you fed and petted them.
Looking up at me, you said I had more
grey than last you saw, but it didn’t look bad.
Your idea of a compliment, I know.
I killed the weeds of anger over things like that.
Now I must learn to trim back the hedges of grief.

Get electric hedge trimmers, you laughingly said.
Then whispered I should learn from the dogs 
and you’d meet me along the path
between the heather one day.
And that was all.
You were gone.

A Razor Sharpened Tongue

image courtesy of iheartdogs.com

When the devils dwelling

within humanity’s heart

show themselves

through the horrors

of animals beaten, tortured

starved, or treated                   

with the willful disregard

of neglect–

I do rage,

wishing, at the very least,

for a razor sharpened

renegade tongue,

with which I could do damage–

wreak havoc,

slice and dice with it,

and after I’m done—

take all my slicing

and all my dicing

into arms strong enough

to carry the weight

of cruelty bled out,

drained of all its bloody

need to hurt, ignorant

of the suffering it has caused,

and toss it all into a funeral pyre

built to destroy all these

blood drained devils dwelling

within humanity’s heart.

Finally, finally leaving us to treat

ourselves,

other creatures,

our world

as if we truly do

have the souls

God has given us.

But it would take more, much more

than a razor sharpened tongue

to cut all the devils out.

so I turn my hands

to help, comfort,

aid as I can—

small drops,

yes, very small drops

to wash the darkness

of all the devils out.

Tiny One

for our foster dog who was a brave fighter

You wake this morning,

My Tiny One,

Your morning of sun and warmth,

Mine of damp, dense fog.

Yet, I know,

Know you’ve found them all,

The squirrel hunter,

The gentle soft one,

The lion-hearted protector,

And the human,

The human I told of,

Whose pockets contain

Tasty treats,

Who is a warrior, like you,

Tiny One, like you,

Whose body now whole,

No longer wasted at all,

Now strong.

This human can throw the ball

All day long for you,

And you, my Tiny One,

No longer standing on shaking, wobbly,

Wasted legs which seek to betray,

Can chase and chase and chase

That ball all day,

Returning it each time

To the human who

Like you, my Tiny One,

With battles fought and done,

With all the wars won,

Runs, runs free now, Tiny One. 

So now, my Tiny One,

All your battles done,

All your wars won,

Run, run free, Tiny One.

Early Morning Walk

Her Mona Lisa smile

Early mornings I walk my dog.

What a pair, what a sight we must make

in the early dawn light.

She, with her little legs flying,

her little French Bulldog smile–

Then me with my crazy, curly, too early,

morning hair and not enough coffee yet face.

As the cool sun, rising, greets

us with a loving grace,

no one would know

how my little dog schools me in life.

in her jaunty little prance,

in her little smiling face, looking up at me,

her joy, her pure delight

in the movement of her body,

in the scent of morning in the air,

in the gentle quiet of dawn upon us–

It is the moment,

Purely, simply–

The moment

Of being–

Old Year

Images of the year
Drift in my mind
Like so many
Snowflakes melting
In a cold rain.
My blood turns icy
With so much frozen regret.

My dog stops.
We’ve reached a crosswalk.
Unlike me, she’s learned
Her lessons well.
But she reminds me
The years of regret are done,
So we walk on since no traffic comes.

The sun peeks out,
Deciding it’s safe,
She comes out all the way
To warm and cheer us.
My dog looks up at me
And seems to smile.

This year will be done.
Yes, soon, this year will be done.

Two Hours

Two hours waiting
Two hours till death walks
Across your domain, your Eden
The longest two hours now
Will be the shortest two hours
After
After you no longer chase squirrels
Or kill snakes to lay as trophies at my feet
I will hold you as you
Dream and drift away
Wrapped in your blanket,
The one you’ve had since a pup.

After you are gone
Taken from my arms
Both of us limp
You will dream
Of running and running
For the joy of it,
Of chasing and catching
The geese you love to swim after,
Of digging and ridding
Your yard of moles,
Dream my friend, my companion,
My comforter, my furry kid
Dream as only angels can
Until we meet again