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I turn off the TV, and the yellow dog
that never cared all that much for me
paces briefly past the loveseat
before jumping up to splay
her body across my aging legs

And I can’t help but feel her disappointment
that my legs are not my wife’s
and my feet have no pink slippers
and there are no balls of yarn
being wound by rhythmic hands

I think I must be getting a taste
for what my wife felt every evening
sitting in this chair with our yellow dog
and it really is quite nice, being chosen
to be a splayed upon companion

Trapped by a dog across my legs
because I dare not move a muscle
and risk disturbing the old girl
who spent the day pacing the house
looking in vain for a lost mother

I’ll never be able to explain
in terms a dog could understand
that I couldn’t bring her back home
and that they shut off the ventilator
before I was even allowed to say goodbye

This house is as quiet as clay
the furnace seems to have gone out
because it feels colder somehow
yellow dog is my last reason to live
and she isn’t breathing anymore

It occurs to me in these numb, small hours
that my wife would say, as a poem, it’s cliché
“but it has good bones,” she’d offer up
and I’d joke about “bones” in a dog poem
before heading out to the barn for a shovel.