Mourning and Melancholia
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.