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posted January 15th, 2007 by
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“Perhaps it is also maudlin to wonder why a sane person should be fool enough to let himself care for a dog, when he knows that at best he is due for a man’s size heartache within a pitifully brief span of years.”
–Albert Payson Terhune

It’s a holy communion.

I never miss a day.
For nine years the wooden brush
has glided
through their lush golden fur.
Their coats are soft,
softer than the clouds’ shadows
dappling a summer meadow
and softer than the fragrance
of its wild flowers.

Throughout the ritual
Jock stands still as stone,
like a statue of the lion
he is.
Sister Angel fidgets and whimpers
and strikes at the brush
with feather bites.

The game fires and quickens
her eyes.

Soon enough
this holy rite will be no more.
Gone will be
the stoic giant I thought immortal,
and scampish Angel
whose eyes flame and dance,
and the rough hand
that gently grooms them.

Only the chipped, pitted brush
will remain,
its supple bristles still laced
with strands
of deathless gold.

- Caleb Hiller