Barbara J. Andrews
The old dog waits beside the lane, his clouded eyes dull with pain.
Muzzle frosted, tail unwound, but ears alert for any sound.
Expectantly he tests the breeze as his broad chest labors, lungs a-wheeze.
He shifts his weight from paw to paw and I wonder what he thinks he saw.
Did he imagine a long lost friend - or is that a shadow there in the bend?
The old dog’s gaze is suddenly keen on something only his eyes have seen.
The weakened spine no longer sags as tempo increasing, his back end wags!
I fear my eyes will over-strain from searching down that empty lane.
Dust motes dance in noonday sun as the old dog moves to greet someone.
Someone or something? I cannot see! But it’s surely here with old dog and me.
His head is higher than it’s been in years and I savor the taste of happy tears!
The light grows brighter around my dog and years roll away like morning fog.
He’s young and strong and whole again, gaiting powerfully, sure to win...
Another heart, another show. And then, and then – the light departs.
My eyes could stay forever sealed but can not deny what I know is real.
The illusion lies in sifting dust. An old dog gone where old dogs must.
I pray that he can hear my song in that place where all my friends have gone.
My gaze returns to his lifeless shell and a curtain of sadness I can not quell…
Comes down. Oh, not for the dog who now is free but for me. For me.