The Poetry of Time


I ease into the morning of my eighty-fourth
birthday. Up early I watch first light merge
with night’s thinning shroud. Relaxed on
the sofa I sip coffee and reflect on the swift
passage of time and my mild acceptance of
life’s short term.

Rita, spirited fifteen-year-old chihuahua,
lies curled in sleep at the other end of the sofa,
unknowing of her time of life or that we share
the experience of old age. She is peaceful and
content, seemingly secure in the ongoing
nature of her being. Free of anxiety or waves
of reflective thought — echoes from the past,
regrets, things undone, time remaining.

Sometimes I wonder, though, if she understands
more than I imagine? Might she still remember
the fullness of life with her sister Lucy, gone
more than five years now? In her loneliness does
she understand Lucy’s disappearance. Is Rita
conscious of death, of non-being? Does she, through
her inquisitive eyes, have questions about our lives,
hers and mine, our relationship, one to the other?

Rita awakens. She gazes my way, her eyes
alive with curiosity. She stretches, her front legs
flexed taut. She moves next to me. I tenderly knead
her spine, her favorite therapy. I talk softly to her.
She expresses herself, snuggles closer, rests
her head on my leg, sighs. I lay my head back and
close my eyes, an arm around Rita.

So we are, making the most of the moment,
each with our thoughts. A man and a little dog
carried along by the poetry of time.

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This Poems Story

An old man and his old dog.