To our dog, Geddy, mixed, Rottweiler-Cocker spaniel, 16 years old
In a language that transcends language,
I would say the words love
pushed me to say, letting go in an instant.
Empty light of stars rained down
for me to hold against your ears, listen:
the soft click, click of dying light.
Mom whispers sutras, every one
she knows leaves the tongue: Long, rolling
coiling words that capture the nothingness
you are heading off to. A boat, a doggy house,
your old friends in the dying light.
The sun against the house, colored
like tinted sugar, a birthday cake
made of cream and condensed milk,
a thousand of the sweetest things
to fall against the bitterness of the throat.
I hold you, I hold you
like a dream in the morning
I write this in the hopes that you
will take it along (in some form
or another) as you enter the new world.
Your paws will scuff the paperwork-ed desk
and the long-faced attendants will chase
after you like grief chases
love, and song, and summer blossoms.
Beyond the edge of the wildflower sky
look to your old home from the red bridge
of the Viewing Pavilion. The sound of your call
hurtling through the eternally-spring air, we return
in kind, our voices blue with longing.
As the Great Wheel of Transmigration turns
loud as a theme park, rapt with laughter,
as we remember you, tender
as the sun’s first light.
And though you may not recognize the words,
English is not your first language (I know),
but then again, the first language we learn
is oneness with others. Tied to our mothers
we straddle the tides of nothingness
slowly emerging, our new bodies
already creaking from disuse. Though
you may be blind to the various grammars
and linguistic distinctions, never-
theless meaning shall not be wasted.
Love is a language you do not forget.
Even without the dreamer,
the dream goes on.
And though my heart goes out
to black nothingness,
though my hands reach out
towards only ash and outward longing,
it is to be greeted by you,
surrounded in swaying gold,
in waking light.