They come to me at night
The dogs and cats I’ve loved.
They visit only for a moment or two
to show me they are well,
that they are happy,
that they miss me too,
and then they go on about
Dakota died three weeks ago today,
a little old man of 16.
Gray hairs covered his face,
but his eyes were still bright and shiny.
He visited me last night.
Alex his brother brought him to see me,
leading the way, as always,
and Rugay was there, and Grief,
Sally, Black Cat, Russe Radigans,
Rouella Strepans, Whitey, Cohab,
Festus, E., Zeke, Sky Hook, Mike,
They formed a procession
of love and hope
crossing an ancient eroded hillside
tangled in greenbriers and blackberries,
vanishing into the brush,
into the wild, into the mystery.
Last summer Dakota would
wander out onto the steps
sit happy in the sun
until, warmed, he would come in
sit beneath my desk to help me
I woke this morning crying.