On a Friday somewhere, so hot the streets
Were steaming, a border collie mix, who
Knew Latin and ancient scripture, went from
This life to a life to come. And one night
Weeks later the moon was so clear and still
I saw him at the table of judgment,
Speaking with his maker.
You are Pumpkin Sentes? Etiam,
Domine. Stop showing off and answer
Me, by your word. I am Pumpkin Sentes,
Yes. I am told you ruined many walks,
At the beach or in the woods. They tell me
You started fights for no reason. That you
Took on dogs big and small.
It is whispered, by other dogs I know,
That you were not above stealing food: and
That you were known for barking all day
At no one, and nothing. Hic et ubique?
I said, stop with the smartass remarks. What
Should I say of you, Mr. Sentes, what should
My sentence be?
I cannot praise a cloister’d virtue. (That’s
Your last warning.) At the beach or the park,
Any dog who gave me space had nothing
To fear. Food? If it fell on the floor, who
Would catch it but me? As for the barking…
Dogs see the unseen and hear things unheard
By any human.
Dogs are a kind of love poem to life
Itself. The worse I was the more my
Mother laughed, as if I was there to help
Her forget her father was not. Life comes
From nowhere and ends nowhere: and yet still
A rhapsody: just ask a dog chasing
Waves by the river.