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When she was a pup in autumn
I watched her dive in mad exuberance
into the leaf-filled road side ditch
and submarine down its length
spraying a delirious scarlet wake
and stop at its far end,
at the edge of wonder,
and look back at me
as if exasperated at my bipedal slowness,
as if to say, where are you?
Those legs gave out yesterday
nearly the last item on whatever final checklist
her body is going through now
and she stares at me,
chin on my knees,
her eyes suddenly older than mine,
heavy with a certain wisdom.
Run ahead again,
I’ll catch up with you later.
Copyright 2022 Wayne Karlin
Wayne Karlin is the author of eight novels and three non-fiction books. His awards include The Paterson Prize in Fiction, The Vietnam Veterans of America Excellence in the Arts Award, and the Juniper Prize in Fiction. His short fiction collection, Memorial Days, will be published by Texas Tech University Press in Spring, 2023.
Yue Xing Yidhna Wang / Getty Images