Listen, they said, in the way of their kind,
not caring if I did.
The small rumble, the soft staccato of pearls
tumbling into air from bodies too new to know,
blind and modest as a palm, or a memory.
Tiny ears tucked like page markers
in a long book whose stories you love.
From birth, that sound.
The warm bed, the patch of sun, the heating pad.
The kibble or the canned or the treat.
The friendly scratch; the available lap.
The lazy roll in dappled dust.
The nameless, alert joy of the senses.
The familiar voice.
Years ago I fetched her from the vet, her
silken belly stitched from spaying.
She heard me before she saw me,
greeted me with happiness
already pouring from her soft throat,
filling her body like a chalice.
We are the same age equivalence now;
the charts say so. Well south of vitality,
slightly north of dotage.
And still that sound, the rumbling repletion
they knew how to express from
the day they slipped into this world
of blood and softness
for a thousand
Listen, they say, in the way of their kind,
not caring if I do.
Teach me, I say, before it’s done
to give thanks with the whole
of my body. Teach me