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Leslie McGrath: The Death of Dogs

He has done what he has done each winter morning
since laying claim to the couch the day we adopted him--
followed the sun along its cushioned landscape
from one tufted yellow arm to the other. 
Though he appears to be sleeping, his pointed ears 
swivel as I walk through the room. 
I have washed the old bedspread and folded it 
over the back of a chair.
We have paced each hour 
the fenced backyard as he teetered on the ice
straining to express a few small drops of rosy piss.
The snow is melting.
He will be gone this time tomorrow
Our vet will pull into the driveway
with a weary kindness and two needles.
The last thing we will give him is not sleep 
but a painless death.
We will save his dish. We will keep his green collar
on its hook at the back door.
In the middle of the night when he thinks
I’m asleep, Bill will weep without sound
shaking the bed like a curse at God 
who allowed a shoe-stealer who pulled at the leash 
until he passed out, a dog with an unmeetable need 
for attention, to sleep between us for a decade, then leave us 
to learn again how to comfort each other.

Copyright 2020 Leslie McGrath

Leslie McGrath’s books include Feminists Are Passing From Our Lives (Word Works, 2018).

12 comments on “Leslie McGrath: The Death of Dogs

  1. Jeanie
    December 26, 2020

    One of the best poets of our generation.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. loranneke
    July 30, 2020

    Thank you for that truly moving, loving, humble poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Liz Gauffreau
    July 23, 2020

    A very moving poem. I’ve been through the experience of having a sick and dying dog put to sleep, and it broke my heart. Your poem captures the pain of the experience so, so well.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. noelleg44
    July 23, 2020

    A very true poem of feelings I have often had myself.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Fred Tarr
    January 15, 2020

    Poem of Death of a dog was a rough one but glad to see his her world thru moving sunlight and making a spot for remembrance.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. David Gardner
    January 15, 2020

    Leslie, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I’m glad that your dog had people who loved him, whom he loved in return. So many dogs are not that fortunate.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. pyenser
    January 15, 2020

    Agree with all of the above. This brought tears. My Labradors all did this, and (oddly) so did my father. (Msg me and I’ll share the poem.)

    Liked by 1 person

  8. pamuschuk
    January 15, 2020

    Thank you for this poem of longing and grief, expiated by your words made song.

    Liked by 2 people

    • marilynflower
      January 15, 2020

      Beautiful poems with lovely, wise conclusion. So difficult to make these decisions!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Conrad Squires
    January 15, 2020

    Leslie, this is a truly beautiful, very moving, poem. I admire your skill with words and meaning and your courage around talking in a direct and honest way so very much! It is beautiful!

    Liked by 2 people

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This entry was posted on January 15, 2020 by in Health and Nutrition, Most Popular, Poetry and tagged , , , , .

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