Poem taken from:

Dogs Singing - A Tribute Anthology by Jessie Lendennie, editor

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Poem of the Week

Monday, April 16, 2012

QuoteWidow and Dog by Kumin, MaxineQuote

After he died she started letting the dog
sleep on his side of the bed they had shared 
for fifty-one years. A large discreet dog, he stayed 
on his side but the tags on his collar jingled as he sighed 
and especially when he scratched so she took his collar off
and then his smooth tawny bulk close to her but not 
touching eased her through the next night and the next.

One morning, a chipmunk and his wife somehow slipped in
through the screen door when neither of them was looking.
She got up screaming from her coffee and whacked at them 
with a broom. Dog pounced and pounced but they were faster 
than he was and dove under the refrigerator. After a while 
he stopped crashing into chairs and skidding around corners 
in fruitless pursuit and then they came and went untroubled 
even drinking out of his water dish, their tails at right angles.

That summer it just seemed simpler to leave the window 
by the bird feeder open for ease of refilling. Some creatures 
slipped casually out and in. The titmice were especially graceful. 
She loved to watch them elevate and retract their crests 
whenever they perched on the lips of the kitchen counters. 
The goldfinches chittered and sang like drunken canaries 
and once in a thunderstorm a barred owl blundered 
into that fake crystal chandelier she had always detested. 

Autumn fell on them in a joyous rush. The first 
needles of hard frost, the newly sharp wind, the final 
sweep and swirl of leaves, a swash of all-day rain
were not unwelcome. Hickory nuts ricocheted 
off the barn's metal roof like a rain of beebee-gun pellets.
They both took afternoon naps. They both grew portly.
While Dog in his dumb allegiance dozed on the hearth, 
sometimes he ran so fiercely in his dreams that he bared his teeth. 
Reclusive comfortable Widow scribbled in her journal. 
It did not matter how much she woolgathered, how late 
into the night she read, it did not matter if she 
completed this poem, or another.

Copyright © Maxine Kumin 2010

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