A Little Elegy
Well Cal, you've gone--
and next time I go home
there will be no one
to get their head stuck
in the porch railings, looking
out for me.
Oh, they'll be glad to see me,
but no one will be seized
with fits of sneezing, turning
circles on the floor.
Not those plain pink people, with
their plain unvelvet ears...
The thing is, Cal, you knew
some things--where I hid
that chocolate bar, and what to do
when I was sad, and which exact books
would be most missed
if someone ate them. And you
out of everyone understood
why I love my husband--
you would sit at his knee
for hours smiling sidelong, you minx.
But more than anything--even
than illicit bread--you loved snow.
To see you writhing, growl-singing,
all paws akimbo upward
in some tiny patch by the side
of a mountain trail--or ears up,
looking back for us across
a whole field of it in December--
that was paradise.
And that is where I'll tell myself
you've gone.
And two states south, I'll tell myself
that thirteen years was long
for a little life. That it's all right.
But I won't believe it next time
I go home.

Cyd Harrell, 2003. All rights reserved.
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