For Jimmy R.J. LeBlond In the end, his deep black coat touched white, muzzle forlorn, peppered with old man eyebrows that dipped and arched when you spoke to him; they said volumes despite his blindness creeping in around slow deaf ears. His right hip gave him a slight limp, nails clattering against linoleum in fits and starts. He lay at my Pop’s feet chest rising with ease, his breath no less faithful than his heart, moaning in canine dreams; back leg twitching wild. I wondered from across the room if he was off somewhere in his youth walking the Appalachian Trail with Pop after Viet Nam; or taking the canoe’s helm down the mighty Mississippi in the heart of summer; or drenched with rain, tired from long treks on broken highways standing guard while his best friend lay in his bedroll in the dark night’s ditch. Napoleon cried out harshly, legs wracked the air as if in seizure. My Pop’s face sank deeply, shoulders slumping almost imperceptibly, knowing someday this old man would have to go down by his hand, that suffering in this way was never an option for the only man that understood him. He reached down placing his hand on the dog’s chest, “Face,” he said softly. The dog’s shutter eased back to dreaming, seizure exiting with a whimper and then still into even breathing, in to what we had always known. It was the first time I saw my father cry.
Aleathia Drehmer 2009
Winning poem in contest held by Organic Glass 3/09