Comparisons

   She left her bed, pulled her sleep shirt over her head, shrugged 
   as she always did at the long mirror behind the door, grabbed 
   a long shirt her husband used to wear and baggy pants loose 

   and soft for walking the dog.  She unrolled the leash, held 
   the clip between her thumb and forefinger, whistling as she 
   always did to let the dog know the day had begun.  She didnít 

   hear his body rubbing against the door, didnít hear him cough 
   as he always did.  She ran down the hall past the bathroom, 
   her office and the spare room.  At the front door lay the dog. 

   Heís old she told me weeks before - told me his age, but 
   I donít know about dogs, know less about people who own 
   them, people who love them, train them, buy special food. 

   She wipes up his mess with the cultural section of HaíAretz 
   the intellectual paper.  The farthest Iíd go is the local Valley 
   one.  Iíd put that out for a dog, if I had one, but not HaíAretz. 

   Political stuff there, high level opinions.  Book reviews. 
   Thatís how much my friend loves her dog. That level 
   of devotion is out of reach to me, but I admire her. 

   Two days ago she called:  My dog died.  It almost finished me
   I offered her the kind of condolence one gives for the loss 
   of an elderly aunt, and she said: 
   Iíll measure my life from when he died

   It was colder than it looked the day her dog died. Katushas 
   shelled an apartment building in Kiryat Shmonah and badly 
   injured a man in a nearby kibbutz. 
   It wasnít a day you could compare with any other,  I say to her. 

- Rochelle Mass


 
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