You left before I was ready.
Even though you engaged me in the process
and let me feel your last heartbeat
and never made of mess of your end.
I wasn’t ready.
I wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
I hadn’t rubbed your ears enough
and listened to you groan
and lean into my hands with that silky ear fur.
I hadn’t climbed out of bed
in the middle of the night enough
and had to avoid stepping on you
because you slept just where I stepped.
I hadn’t coaxed you to come to the park
just a half block away
to watch you stoop to poop
and picked it up in a baggy
and tried to get you to walk around a bit
and had to give up when you hobbled
with your furry flag waving
back home to wait at the gate for me, enough.
And I hadn’t heard you groan in the middle of the night
as you shifted your old achy bones,
or recognized your bright eyed ‘look’
asking for food, enough.
And though our days of skiing powder
and watching you bound down the mountain
eyebrows dusted white,
snow balls collecting in your chest,
but not in your feet, thank God,
because you were made for snow,
were long gone.
I wasn’t finished running my fingers through
your magnificent coat,
or sticking my nose deep into your toes
to inhale your wild and woodsy essence,
or catching that knowing look back
over your shoulder
as you left the park to go home
checking to see that I would follow
because you loved me
and knew I would come
because I loved you
like only a man can love his best friend.
But you are gone now
and I’m up in the middle of a dark night
lonely and crying on my keyboard
trying to say goodbye,
knowing I never will,