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Saying Goodbye

I had just finished this poem when I found out about this week's theme. What more can I say?

Ode to Merlin


He's so beautiful

I look at him and reason

breaks with love.

How can I communicate this

to anyone?

He's so special

my big little Shiatsu,

my love-toy, my boy-

his long, sensual neck;

his tongue that I've seen quiver

fast as humming birds' wings;

his frustration with barking and longing

to talk by way of his squeak toys.

My Merlin, my constant

never-jaded friend, my joy.

He reminds me how short life is:

just a moment ago he was young,

now he's old and my love,

my tenderness, only grow.

My heart feels painfully large,

like his has become

struggling to support

the mysterious cathedral of his bones.

I love his X-rays, his organs,

his sparkling, sad, soul-full, tearing eyes;

his stubborn memory of pleasure,

the efforts he makes to feel better

whenever we offer him a treat he can't eat;

the way he rests his head in my hand,

peacefully listening to my miserable declarations

of love promising him life eternal;

how he sighs when my leg touches his at night

as we surrender to the promise in dreams.

Before going out, we always had to Bubu-proof the house-

move tables away from couches and chairs-

or we'd find Merlin stranded on small wooden islands

as if trying to see farther to where we'd gone,

afraid to jump off until we came back and,

happiness triumphing over trepidation, he leapt,

sending knick-knacks flying.

Once he even spread his front legs wide

as if attempting to grow wings

so he could grab the piece of lamb

Stinger held just beyond his reach.

"I saw it in his eyes," he said in awe,

"the thought ‘if I could only fly'!"

My Merlin, my canine soul-mate.

I'll never love another doggie like I do my Babie.

He's had so many nicknames-tushi-ball,

waggle-butt, fluffy-head, Louie... the list goes on.

When he was a puppy I called him the Merlinator,

but it's now that he's on steroids

to stop his heart from eating his muscles

in its struggle to keep pumping

so the spirit we know and love doesn't drown

in his own life-sustaining liquids.

Our dream is he will die

here with us, cherished and loved-

and already dearly missed-

one day or night in his sleep

as he runs out to play, unhindered.

I've seen the angel who will come for him,

a pleasant young woman who told me

her phone number when I begged to know-


For the rest of my life

I'll watch for that number.

Who knows (selfishly I fantasize)

maybe my boy will come back to me

in some other form my heart

(which knows so much more than my mind)

will somehow, immediately, recognize.

Yet I hope he won't come back as a dog.

For years now I've been telling him

that when he dies he'll be reborn a hoo-man.

His mouth will finally form words;

he won't have to run, whining in frustration,

for a squeak toy, with the pure joy

he always showed when we returned,

even if we'd only been gone a moment.

I will miss you, Merlin.

I will feel as you did

when you could no longer see us-

sad and helpless

surrounded by incomprehensible forces,

afraid we had left forever.

Yet I'll know that's not really so

because we always came home

to hold you when it stormed

and thunder made you tremble.

There's so much you can't grasp

and so much I don't understand

about how the life we've shared came to pass.

When you leave, I'll fear it's forever,

but my undying love will know better.