To The River
The leash that once hung from a nail in a cold garage,
We can now take down and hang from the rafters
Like a retired jersey from a once great athlete in a Great Arena
And those tennis balls, endless in number on their magical arcs-
ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS returned with pure joy and covered in excited dogspit.
They lie motionless in the grass now, or float down the river forever.
So My Great Friend, My Big Boy, My Coop
You can close those big brown eyes-tired yes but still holding that gleam from your strong and sweet youth.
And you can quiet that back and forth tail
That to the very end swept swish swish swish no matter how weary and weak you felt on the inside
You can rest and take a beautiful springtime nap in the shade of your favorite tree
And dream of meaty bones
And cold fast water to hurl your body
And endless hands of those who loved you scratching your belly and your butt.
Make it a long nap. Restful. Gather all your strength.
For when you open those beautiful brown eyes again,
The cloudiness will have disappeared, and they will once again see clearly.
You will find a spring in your legs once more.
When you rise your body that had grown weary will have returned to the speed and
strength of its youth.
And you can RUN AND CHASE AND DIVE AND SWIM FOREVER AND FOREVER AND
We will be here remembering you just like that.
Thinking of you when we see your hanging leash or a tennis ball on the ground.
Smiling when we roll down the window on a warm day, and picture your head
sticking out of that window, your tongue hanging out of your mouth,
your chest puffed out in pride and frenzy and anticipation.
Heading to The River.