Some Instructions for Surrender

Some Instructions for Surrender

Because there is no protocol for spending

what may be your last days

with the aging dog you’ve been petsitting

for the past four years,

you may feel awkward

and even a little self-conscious

staring into those cloudy eyes

while your heart urges your clumsy body

to lie down beside her, nestling your head

into the fatty tumors on her torso.


Once you succumb to this primitive nudge

you will be so glad you did.

Her crippled body will welcome you

while her tail becomes a pendulum of gratitude.

She may lick your face or arm, appreciation

for your plunge into fear of loss.


You will need to tell your mind

to let go of anything

that may dilute this experience.

Just be with her,

letting her know how much she means to you,

how even though taking care of her disrupts

your routine and adds

to an already long list of obligations,

you were always glad to do it and would have

done it even if you weren’t getting paid.


Lay there as long as you need to,

giving and receiving.

Stand up when you’re ready–you’ll know–

and go back to watering plants

while she dozes and twitches,

both of you smiling,


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