I have places to go but don’t
I’m sitting in a soft green chair
by the hissing fire with Mickey
who is dying, curled against my feet.
My fingers rub his neck still warm,
his ribs still rising slowly, falling,
his fur stringy and soft. A lesion
on his liver. Ammonia builds in his blood.
Mickey cares not about science.
Muscles weaken. No appetite,
he’s been starving slowly for weeks.
I carry him in his little donut bed.
Some day soon, maybe today, his heart will stop.
He never complains. That’s the nature of dogs
about pain. Blues yodel, yes, he’ll join the chorus
when the siren calls but not today.
In the fireplace scraps of redwood siding
torn from my house after 80 years,
attacked by sun rain insect until
finally succumbing, broken down,
burn now hot and fast and bright.
Mickey still breathes. I sit.
I have things to do,
places to go but don’t.
Joe Cottonwood has repaired hundreds of houses to support his writing habit in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California. His latest book is Random Saints.