A Memory on the Occasion of Putting Animals to Sleep

You think about the pit mix who was young once along with your children.
They were all of a piece.
The dog with the pointy ears and pink and black snout.
The child with the pointy ears
and the sudden way
she darted across the room followed by the puppy.

Now the puppy has rheumatism.
The daughter is grown, has a job, and asks you for a little extra money to buy an IUD.

The son darts naked through the den spraying water
on the daughter and the white carpet and the cat who leapt to the top of the glass door catching a fly.
Now the cat licks his chops in a square of sunlight while the son rockets down a field in circles like a billiard ball.

You cry thinking about having to put these beloved animals to sleep.
You miss putting your children to bed and holding their hands while they sleep.
You dream — I dream — of the softness of fur, the unspeakable wetness of children’s kisses.
Reminded of how young we were,
Darting through life.
Crazy with the love of it,
Believing, half believing, this would never end. —Arielle Emmett (c) 2012

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