My Great Good Boy
(For Red, one month gone)
Sometimes my heart howls the way you never did.
Lord knows, I gave you ample cause to cry out greatly with indignation
I was moody: surely you felt every nuance, but you did not howl.
I was vain: your impeccable down stay, your imperfect roll-over, your charming high-five.
I took the credit; you never howled.
I moved you from one home to another:
You never got a vote, and you never howled.
Instead, you made friends of every species.
Even here, where it is unbearably hot, and where everything smells of trees rotting in brackish water.
And where, for the first time, you became fearful of the doctor.
Even then, you did not howl.
I always wanted you to speak words.
I also wanted you, when the time came, to die in my arms.
Only one of those wishes came true.
And now my heart howls the way you never did.