Only A Dog: In Honor of Sheela


the manzanita trees,

wet with welcomed rain,

the earth in singing relief,

this spring,

the streams are full.


My sister goes hiking now,


her friend,

a dog named Sheela,

has left for other lands,

places we don’t always believe in.


Has she gone to the spirit world?

Her love and loyalty for my sister,

so clear,

so deep,

transcending death?


Will my sister’s heart,

so broken now,

ever find enough solace?


She was only a dog.


Only a dog,

whose friendship took my sister high,

into trails that lifted her soul,

when she needed it most.


This grief,

brings on others,

the power of its unleashed force,



There will be healing.

There has to be,

but it won’t come easily.

For my sister and Sheela

shared that mysterious bond,

that took them beyond


and definitions.


The streams are full.

My sister will go alone now.

And if she believes,

Sheela will be running alongside her,

among the manzanita trees,

wet with welcomed rain.


Run on, dear Sheela.


Run on.


Held Tight

Held tight by disbelief

tighter still by dismay.


A bloated buffoon

with forked tongue

in charge now

and able

to set a course

to dictate

to hold the cards.


But the winds still move

according to earthly laws,

birds fill the trees

as morning crests,

children still say

“You are so silly.”






Not yet,

not yet.IMG_1704

Hugo and Sassafras


And there we were,

into the woods,

the brook,

the meadow,

our hearts overflowing into the open wild, 


 in search of nothing more,

than what we could discover,




I let them go,

to other hands and hearts,

as life does,

they went that way,

I went another.


In stories and visits,

I saw them thriving:

eight years of glory.


Two phone calls,

within months of each other, 

genetic balls of cells,

carrying them both away.


Buried now, 

near each other.


Those of us who loved them,


in deep,

gifted in that loving.


I see them still:


into the woods,

the brook,

the meadow,

and someday,

I will follow.


                                                        Hugo and SassafrasIMG_8716


There is the inferred,


the lol

and the <3.


I linger there,

believing there is more:

more heart,

more depth,

more intrique.


I picture a place,

the characters,

the conflict to be resolved,

and that’s where

I most want to stay.


In plots, 

in points well taken,

in words that convey it perfectly:





Borne up and out,

of texts 

and emails,

sent through the air.


How do the words stay intact?


And there,

in what’s not said,

in what might have been said,

if you called,

if I did:






This Fish

Plucked right out of the sky,

a fish of largeness,

a bass,

and me,

not expecting this big.


All day,

I thanked the bass,

as it lay on ice,

in keeping.


Then me,

steaming and eating the fish,

imagining its life in this lake, 

its body,

sleek scales in glinting flight,

water flight,


like outer space.


And me,

pulling it

right out of its sky.


With every bite,

this fish,




A Few More Days

This is their world: seagull in heightened flight, heron low skimming, geese flocked up close among lilies, loons in tremolo warning, snakes curled long absorbing heat.   Among them now, barefoot and listening to Beethoven, first thing Sunday morning, and suddenly, all I want, is to be part of their world.   Music off, breeze picking up, the lake is stirring now.   There it is: their world, and me, thinking, and trying too hard, to find a way in.   In a few days.   In a few days, limbs and breath, in tranquil stretching, loose and deep, will be floating effortlessly, in our world. IMG_8636