When we moved to West Virginia in 1982, we brought with us a dog named Jasper, part beagle, part mutt.
Tell yourself the worst part is the hair.
Embarrassed to find them in the fridge.
A friend in black sits in the easy chair,
rises, back of her clothes covered in it.
Or those nights when he trees something,
always right outside the open window
of the bedroom, keeps you up all night,
three barks, then two, then three, then two.
Or the farts. Could clear the room faster
than the promise of ice cream, and always
someone saying “Jesus, Jasper!” Fanning air,
opening windows, lighting matches.
And then one morning his rigid body
on the porch rips holes in our hearts.
Dig the hole, wrap him in a blanket,
tree yourself, a howl no different than his.
© MCM 2018