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We buried Joe
a month ago
and since,
Maizey, his mother,
has been alone.
Those first days
I would hear her barking
and discover,
unusually, she wasn’t at the door
barking at me
to come feed
or pet her.
She was standing
in the driveway
barking; I think,
calling Joe.
She has slept a lot
since
and more deeply.
Completely deaf,
she startles
when I gently pat her head
to wake her
and invite her for a walk.
Last Sunday evening
we walked
and she, who is usually ahead,
couldn’t keep up.
Still, she walked all the way
to the next mile road
and turned around to head home
with me.
There is a swell in the road
just about where the cemetery is
and I lost track of her as I topped it.
By the time I reached home
she was still out of sight,
so I drove the cart down to fetch her.
Just past the cemetery,
her every slow step
seemed an effort.
She had never ridden in a vehicle
and seemed a bit apprehensive,
but we got home
without her having to take another
step.
Since then, she has slept much of the time,
though she still
wanders up the driveway
mornings.
She sleeps in the shade of the Mimosa
or on the porch
most of the day—
seemingly, too weary to move
off the porch
to relieve herself.
She does move,
unexpectedly quickly,
to avoid the water
I carefully pour next to her
to clean her sleeping area.

Her napping place is on an old pillow
at the east end of the porch.
She is there in the cool breeze
and awake this morning.
I pat her head, rub under her chin,
cherish her brown eyes,
her sweet face.
When I take my breakfast to the wicker chair
on the west end of the porch
she raises herself from her pillow,
walks slowly to where I am,
settles on the porch floor next to me
and falls asleep.
Is she sad, I wonder?
Is her weariness heavier—
her will to live fading—
now that Joe is gone?
Ever more glad
for her dear company,
too, I am ever more earnest
in being good company
for her.

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