Tag Archives: dogs


The dog lies in my chair
his chin upon the arm.
This seems to me quite fair
and really does no harm.
For I have learned to share,
as you can plainly see,
from all the hair I wear,
a gift he gave to me. mjh




Glenn Gould plays Bach
as I step on that distant shore.
Handing my coppers to the boatman,
I look up the bank for you
among the crowd
scanning the new arrivals for
old friends
to lead across the fields
when the dog barks —
1 head, not 3 —
I’m not dead yet,
as Charon’s ferry folds
into the sofa,
where I shiver
in fevered dreams
between two worlds
not ready for either. mjh

first published 3/9/05

Listen to 101°

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)

The Bright Side

“When he’s dead,”
she says,
“I’ll finally get that dishwasher.”
“And when she’s dead,”
he says,
“I’ll knock a pass-thru to the kitchen.”

Either could have what they want now
but these are little improvements
they can look forward to
as if one day
the end of the world
could have a bright side
like that trip to Europe
after the dog dies. mjh


There could be an upside to death, at least, for the survivors.

Listen to The Bright Side

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)

Update 2012: She got her dishwasher and he got a counter far better than a pass-through and nobody had to die, yet. http://www.edgewiseblog.com/mjh/uncategorized/kitchen-remodeling-for-dummies/

The Heaven of Animals

The meadow is his home now.
Up high in the mountains,
he lies in the shade
in a circle of trees
among the wild iris.

He yawns and stretches,
flips over
and rolls and rolls,
groaning in pleasure
in the tall sweet grass.

At any moment
he will sit up, alert,
ears sharp,
sniffing the air,
eyes intent on something
we can’t see
off under the trees.

His world is perfect now,
though I know he misses
the pats, the belly rubs,
the love in our voices:
lie down.
stay now.
good boy. mjh


I wrote this five years before Lucky Dog died, remembering a beautiful spot the three of us discovered. And, imagining the inevitable, I sobbed. This supports my hope that “any horror could be faced / and become a poem.”

I borrowed the title from a poem by James Dickey. If you’re looking for that one, here’s a link. And, here’s a poem I wrote soon after Dickey’s death in 1997.

Listen to The Heaven of Animals

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)

Meeting myself again

I ran into myself in the park again this morning. Last time, Future Mark got out of a car and shuffled over to a bench. There he sat, smoking a cigar, in contemplation. It was a fatter cigar than I currently like, but tastes change over the years. I intuited that this was a ritual for him/me to get away from some less-than-ideal living situation. Perhaps, Future Mark lives in a small apartment or shares space with a friend. More likely, he lives in a warehouse for the not-yet-dead. In the park, with a good smoke, he reclaims our independence, however briefly.

Back then, I avoided contact with Future Mark out of fear of some time paradox. Since then, apparently, I will learn that’s not a problem, because this morning Future Mark approached me, or, more correctly, Luke. Mark held out his hand for Luke to sniff. Luke looked back and forth between us and managed to reconcile the situation; dogs live in the now. Mark looked me in the eye as if delivering a message just for me: "Our dog lived to be 16." (Good news that has a bitter end.) "I can’t imagine ever replacing him." I tried to comfort him what little I could: "We felt that way about Lucky. Then, when the time was right, Luke came along." Cold comfort, to replace grief with delayed grief, but we have only one other choice: love nothing. Besides, the warehouse probably forbids pets.

A few minutes later, I saw Future Mark bend over stiffly to brush some leaves off a memorial plaque beneath a tree. Then, he passed us, staring straight ahead, his face at once rigid and fluid with grief. I knew his pain. I didn’t dare look at the name on that plaque.

the cure

my old friend
is worried about me
coughing roughly
deep in the night
he stands by the bed
searching my face
for a cue
a clue to my
senseless barking
he paces the floor
for hours
he sniffs my hand
ingesting my malady
to concoct the cure
which he administers
in slow soft licks;
“be well, old friend
the pack is with you.”
and I am well again. mjh


Listen to the cure

My Virtual Chapbook (table of contents)