If There is Such a Thing
by Adele Kenney
(After a Woman Feeding Her Dog, by Mary Cassatt)
If there is such as thing as forever, I will be here by this high window,
this dog beside me, sun on our faces. Everything important will
spread out beneath us: gazebo and fountain. Each will be held in its
own moment of beauty like the Yorkshire Terriers whose pictures
hang on my kitchen wall: three no longer with me and this one who
chews his rope giraffe to pieces with no regrets, no sentimental
attachment-- the chew worth whatever loss it incurs. Informed by
his own spirit, he sees in things only things and wants nothing more
thank his leash and long walks, a game of throw the ball. He needs
nothing more than to sleep on the floor beneath my feet or curled in
the right angle my arm and elbow make when I hold him-- the
happiness he was made for.
If only forever were a choice we could make, I would choose this
dog's world (and my place in it)-- absolute innocence-- no other life
to plan for but this. Nothing but this: love without reservation-- his
world and mine as it it ought to be and, in this moment, is.
This poem first appeared in Paterson Literary Review.
"If There Is Such a Thing"
by Carol Wilcox,
modeled after Adele Kenney
If there is such as thing as forever, I will be here by this pond,
watching this dog paddle, sun warm on our backs. Everything important will
spread out beneath us: the pond, the sun dancing across the rippling water,
then glinting off your wet black fur, your faded red collar restored to its
original glory. Each will be held in its own moment of beauty,
like the Heinz 57 mutts whose collars parade across the wall in my study:
Ramsey, Maggie, Jack Black, Boo- no longer with me and soon you, old Star,
snoring deeply at my feet and then Sweet Roo, you who find enormous joy
in dismembering your stuffies within minutes- absolutely sure that the sole
purpose of such toys is to remove the plastic balloon inside, so you can race around the yard,
squeaking delightedly, until someone grabs you and rips it from your mouth.
You see in things only things and want nothing more than a full bowl of kibble,
a leash and long walks, a good game of tug of war, then to sleep on the floor
beneath my feet or sneak onto the couch and press your nose against my thigh--
the sole happiness you were made for.
If there is such a thing as forever, I would choose this dog's world
(and my place in it)-- total contentment-- no other life to plan for but this.
Nothing but this: love without reservation-- his
world and mine as it ought to be
and, in this moment, is.