(Richard Howard’s pug)
Dogsbody in your case a plump, trig, four-
Square frame, upholstered in ash-white fur,
Plus short, splay trotters, teetertottering
Out Master’s door to meet whoever rang.
Which would sometimes be me, at whom you’d gaze,
Lodging your claim, “I too am one of the guys,”
Your thumbprint of a face deep-runneled like
A walnut, pug nose that, when dry, you’d lick.
Often my hand as well, though not for long.
Cozier prospects beckoned, like beetling
To your warm corner on the leather sofa for
A snooze…. From which you now won’t—. It’s not fair.
And the dark memento left us mourners, Maud?
That we—yes, all of us, the mild, the mad,
The young, the old, the ill—ourselves one day
Must follow suit and just what you did do.
Imagination’s sill once reached, though, a door
Springs open to reveal, as spirits soar,
You! Curled tail athrob, pink tongue thrust out,
Maud! beyond loss, grief, vacancy or doubt.