Kim’s Poem

What is it that you like most about the floor, Kim,

That makes you want to lie on it all day?

What do you dream of there on the cold floor, wheezing?

Why don’t you go outside and play in the snow, freezing?

I let you in. They let you out.

I let you in. They let you out, again.

Barking at people as they pass.

Barking at the birds as they sing.

Barking at noise miles away.

Barking at any damn thing.

Old dog!

Scold dog, you’re not young anymore.

There’s no understanding of your old age.

Cold age.

Whipping boy, children’s toy,

The children have left home.

Who’s to love you now?

What is it that you like most about the floor, Kimmy?

Is it that you’re just too tired to stand anymore?

Kim or Kimmy, depending on your level of affection for the dog, was a poodle and chihuahua mix. He was a little bigger than a chihuahua but was covered with wavy white hair. My sister Laurie brought him home from Tabs, a local drive-in burger joint in Sarnia. The teenagers were feeding him ice cream and other delights and Kim wasn’t handling it well. He was cute. Later in life, Kim made it difficult to make out in the basement without him bunching up a piece of clothing and humping it. As time passed, Kim became no one’s responsibility. He developed eczema and his hair fell out in patches. He would be leashed on the side-door landing, on the staircase between the basement and the ground floor. That’s where we discovered his lifeless body, on the stairs below the landing. I wrote this before Kim died, circa 1971.

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