Come ye in flocks, ye birds, unto his obsequies.
Come, ye pious denizens of the air;
beat your bosoms with your wings and with your rigid claws,
score furrows on your dainty heads.
—Ovid, Amores, Book II, Elegy VI.
Trans. J. Lewis May
O alacritous cruncher of spare pigeon heads,
tireless yapper of backyard hours,
O nimble-toothed and debonair bane of bumblebees,
O Bear, unhibernating trumper of your namesake,
O why can’t a poet instead make a Frisbee
of his self-indulgent O's: something into which
the dearly departed could sink teeth?
Or why not crumple this page and launch it
far enough to tire you out with the chase?
I’d bleed for the lines as you did
that time I clumsily caught your mouth
with a chunk of 2X4, which you retrieved nonetheless,
gore-jawed and eager, looking fresh from a kill.
I’d like to think you were only distracted
on that last long fetch; instead, I watched you seize up
into lameness and blindness, as shepherds do.
A runner should run, even if away,
and it would take adamantine canines like yours
to gnaw through the thread of life
that tied you to an arthritic stake.
Summers, the stiff wire-brush pulled tuft
after musky tuft of tawny fur
from your brawny flanks, deforesting
your fore and fetlocks. Enough clumps
to form another dog who would bay at the rising wind
and take off after something I couldn’t see
but which was no doubt terrified.
Published On: June 30, 2009
Permanent Location: http://www.forgetmagazine.com/090630c.htm