Debora Lidov

Mourning and Melancholia
October 22, 2023 Lidov Debora

Mourning and Melancholia

-for LZ


If I had two dogs,
I’d call one dog Mourning
and one Melancholia. If either dog died,


I’d replace right away.
I’d not indulge the usual year of despair,
for the sake of the canine survivor


who’d ride with me to the pound
to choose their life’s next partner.
But had I one dog, I’d call her


Lucy, short for Lucky,
after my phantom-family cat.
If Lucy Dog died, a first dogless year


would mark my grief’s beginning.
Then another would pass.
Then decades. Then long after the losses


of all our human heroes,
destructions of countless
beaches, markets, hospitals, schools,


if I couldn’t manage a pet myself
I’d gently suggest to perfect future-you,
still hanging on


with antihero dialectic-me: “You get a dog.”
You’ll pretend to listen and agree,
then pretend to forget,


then find yourself desperately ready
for rescue. “Dog in the road,”
you’ll rush to your window and weep.


Meaning, my dog is crossing your mind,
meaning, returning to us all—
bounding, expanded, aware.

Debora Lidov’s poems have appeared in anthologies and journals, including  Paris Review,   Tarpaulin Sky, Tree Lines: 21st Century American Poems, What Rough Beast, and The Yale Review.  She is the author of Trance (FLP, 2015). She lives in Brooklyn, NY.