Elegy for a Good Boy
No one sleeps when the old dog has died
because he slept in your bed every night,
wrapped like a G-clef to your side.
No one sleeps when the favorite's died.
Your child weeps; the other dog might
die of dazed grief, too. Your child says
I cannot sleep because the dog has died
and he regrets dog days of August, hot,
when we dared not take him walking outside.
We lavish praise on the dumb younger dog,
a maze of buzz-cut topiary in the brain stem;
we love her but she's not him. She dimly tried.
We dream biscuits for the dog who has died,
one more head pat, belly romp, a hot walk,
but we saw his knowing stare, his final pride—
we've seen the "Let's go" glare from eyes that talk.
Pamela Sumners is a constitutional and civil rights lawyer from Alabama. In 2018 and 2019, her work has been published or recognized by 30 journals or publishing houses in the US, UK, Scotland, Ireland, and Singapore. She was selected for Halcyone/Black Mountain Press' 2018 64 Best Poets anthology. She now lives in St. Louis with her wife, their son, and three rescue dogs.