YESTERDAY, I INHALED GRIEF

From
SEED VIGILANTES
A CATHARSIS THROUGH HAIKU
DECADES POST-ASSAULT – J. Ruth Kaye

We were a scene from the Keystone Kops
As we fumbled our way
Into the Vet’s office,
One dog pulling in one direction,
Two pulling in the opposite.

They barked and cried.
I tripped, moaned, and
Humans looked on, nodding.

After they settled,
The Dog Owners’ Schmooze began.

Chit-chat, as Scooby shrugged out of his collar
And hid under the bench.
Chit-chat, as I backed away from
The enormous brown Newfoundland duo.
Chit-chat, as the Yorkie happily exited.
Chit-chat, as the Pomeranian
Circled and circled and circled in his anxiety dance.

Far off, the sad couple petting their Pug looked up,
Made eye contact.
I wandered over, inhaling grief on my approach.

“She is old,” the woman said, tissue clutched.
“She is deaf and blind,” said the man.
“She is beautiful,” I said,
As the doctor came out into the waiting room,
Motioning them into Exam Room #1.

Only the man and the Pug exited.
“She’s thirteen,” the woman said, resigned.
“She really is beautiful,” I repeated.

Chit-chat, they moved to the area
To be closer to their children.
Chit-chat, mountain living is challenging.
Chit-chat, distract me while one of my best friends dies
Is what I heard, though was not what she said.

The woman did not circle and circle and circle
In an anxiety dance.
I did not back away.
I sat within eye-contact distance,
Inhaling grief,
When another doctor came out into the waiting room,
Motioning to the Keystone Kops.

Yesterday, I inhaled grief
And, after they sniffed it,
Escorted our dogs into Exam Room #2.

 

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