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(The death of our sled dog)

A yelp

a cold wind

and once more the blunt fact

of dead weight loose as rocks

in a sack, and a hot

acid spume clouding sight

and that angel of death

roaming the house

tall and chisel-eyed,

impassive as ratchets,

scything the air of our foyer

with slow wings.

* * *

One day perhaps I’ll live the life

he offered: rabbit through deep drifts,

stretch to crack vertebrae,

mogul green fields in a stream

of silver, nimble as Dall sheep,

shawled in reflections of light.

Some day I’ll inhabit

each moment with his fierce

intensity; widen my toes

to grip glare ice; pare

my vocabulary

to fifty essential words.

With death there is

no reconciling:

just a hole in the heart

short lances of pain

the faint trembling breeze

of heat streaming away.

From Martha's Vineyard Writing (Summer / Fall 2007), reprinted in Watered Colors (2014). American Independent Writers Annual Prize for Best Poem, 2008.

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