Your Pet Loss Poems'For Scarlett, the Shadow of My Heart'
by Regenia Mayne
(Charleston, West Virginia)
You were a crazy shadow falling
Into my calm life, straining wildly at the leash
Like a beast, or playing headlong tag
Down the stairs with my legs,
Or whining piteously at the bathroom door
Or passing notes under it while you scuffled
With Mack the Knife, the gangster pup,
Demanding that I speak to you, or intervene.
You flung yourself through the house like a shot
Of your own wild firing, and in passing slung
Your sloppy toys into the lap of guests
With a happy grin of smug aplomb,
Waiting to be towed through the house
By the toy you wouldn't relinquish.
Long years forced to Toss and Drag with you,
Were yet missed when the dignity of your years
Left toys behind. But still you followed me
To the bathroom to cry your self pity at the door
And engage me in conversations and admonitions
While you waited, impatient for my emergence.
Impatience turned to patience but wild joy still
To be had at the end of the leash, leading me
Into your world of stop and sniffs, and the happy ends
Of days in my chair, dreaming of squirrels and trees
You'd longed to climb; then climbed the stairs with me
More slowly still, to sleep outside the bathroom door
Those minutes now too long for a girl to stay awake.
I'd watch your legs kick with old dreams of the chase.
You were my shadow. Not of me but of our days
And all the times you wove into the lovely pattern
Of our hours; of devotion never dimmed; of memories
That won't suffice: the shadow of my very heart.
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