MAKING SENSE OF GUS


I can see the patina of his feet
On the floor near his bowl in the kitchen
On the back door lightly scratching an entry
And in the hall, all brakes on, turning to chase the ball.

I can hear him barking at ghosts in the garden
While galloping through the gardenia, his bush,
Or settling in to sleep among the beans in his bean-bag
Of a tiny mattress (by our bed) then dream-sighing as he goes to sleep.

I can smell him and taste him too
Our light-scented dog who sheds no hair
Who loves to nuzzle his muzzle in my face
And to lick my nose quickly, deferentially, hoping i’d not notice

I can still feel the firm touch of his small body
His soft black curls flowing from his tight athletic skin
Those floppy-thin ears falling alongside his kind little face
As i cradle him on my chest this tiny dog we all adore

All this sense-making I can do but making sense of his death?
Just what is it that he left behind in our living space?
How could so small a presence be so big
In the leaving, so deep in the meaning?

Perhaps it is the sixth sense of his spirit, like crystal it is so clear?
Or the virtual shadow of his devotion which makes his love so near?
Whatever Gus gave us the taking is profound
Our world blurred by tears
My ears searching for his sound.

Cremorne, December 2000

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