I’ve never been much of a poet. When I sit down to write, I always have so much to say. So many images, so many points to make. And I don’t know if it’s because I’m exhausted and sleep deprived, but I found this number from my Creative Writing poetry portfolio and cried a bit rereading it. The photograph isn’t actually Butch, but it’s pretty dang close.
We all had that one pet (or friend) who we remember as our fast. He had an impact on us that lingers, no matter how old we get. Butch was that for me. Enjoy.
The day before my fifth birthday.
It’s not the Toy Story cake I remember
or even all the presents that I got,
but I do remember you.
Every Tuesday, Mother and I
Visited Grandma beyond city limits.
In her beige Camry,
we stirred gravel and spit dust
as we drive passed McHenry’s stable.
Then his apple-orchard,
rows and rows of fruit-bearing timber,
waiting to be picked and squeezed into cider.
And, at the end, you were there
waiting to finally meet me,
tongue out, wagging your body.
We were immediate best friends.
You would follow me into the woods,
to swim and fish at the lake.
After, I skipped rocks while
you chased dragonflies.
Ten years later,
We decided to drive by again.
Grandma moved to the city,
and nothing remained the same.
McHenry’s stable was barely standing,
rotten and forgotten.
The orchard bore stunted fruit
with no one around to pick it.
The yellow jackets swarmed,
Drunk of the sweet, fermented juices.
That wasn’t her old house.
Its shutters painted blue
and a labyrinth of chain-link
where the trampoline once set.
There were all sorts of other dogs
locked in cages or running around,
but at the end of the driveway,
you were nowhere to be found,