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The Give and Take of Age

I’ve enjoyed writing for many years. I'm dedicating more time to the craft in my retirement days.

Jesse

Jesse

Age

It gives

Age

It takes

It can do both

And it does

Inexorably

Inevitably:

When I first met her

She was of an age

Small and shy

Hiding in the back

Behind the rest

I made my request

She was delivered to me

Laid on my knee

Until my young son

Approached

And uncoached

Her tail, it wagged

And there was joy

At seeing the boy

And they would walk

While I would work

Mom and son and pup so small

Teeny tiny legs only inches tall

For miles numbered three

And she would sleep and sleep

And sleep all day

Then wake up to play

And eat

Must eat

Or at least push my food around

And knock over my bowl

It’s dry and tastes like gravel

So, give me a treat

Oh, isn’t that neat

I just love a treat

Makes my heart boom boom

To see the joy

In her eyes

It’s like a birthday surprise

Every day

Exultant

As she seems to say

Oh, look

I can run fast here

And over to there

And spin a circle

Bound around

Run away

And back

Stop on a dime

Bottom raised high

Tail pointing to the sky

Face down on front paws

Reacting to guffaws

And doing it again

With a quick spin

Ok ok ok

Here’s a reward

And a smile

A pat on the head

Time for bed

On the floor

On a pillow

In the master

For a decade

And a half

Plus one

giving-and-taking-a-poem-about-an-aging-pup

Age gives

So much fun

And then one

Autumn day

The boy moves away

To school

To university

Too far to see

From here

Gone, not forgotten

Away, but still here

In a canine heart

And age takes

Mobility

The things she can see

The things she can hear

Functions within

Begin

To decline

And the snow

Takes her mind

On a trip

To unfamiliar places

And stays away

For many days

And sometimes more

Yet, in the spring

The flowers bring

Awareness home

And treat in my hand

She’s a pup again

Pep in her step

Vigorous anticipation

Bounding

Bouncing

No more circles

But tail wagging

Tongue dragging

It’s a long way

These few steps

After our walk today

Slow and let’s stay

Close to home

Don’t want to roam

I’m glad the boy’s back

For summer

I missed him

You can pat me on the head

I don’t mind

giving-and-taking-a-poem-about-an-aging-pup

Author's Notes

This poem is a response to one of fellow writer Brenda Arledge's one-word prompts, "Age." It's also a response to some harsh and hard realities we are facing at home right now with Jesse, our pup. She's 16 years old and these days my wife and I have routinely some very uncomfortable conversations at the dinner table. It has been a good summer so far, but our son returns to school in just a matter of days. That always signals that the mean season is not long away. Jesse has not done well, physically or psychologically, these past two winters. The boy's departure, then, brings with it dread for Mom and Dad, and for more than one simple reason.

Meantime, though, and as long as the weather, Jesse's will, and her mind are all willing and able, we'll continue to walk the block daily and look for the joy in the moments we have together.

© 2021 greg cain

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