I’m old enough now to see
how I’ve lived my life in dogs,
each a sun-warmed stone
in this stream of loneliness.
by these have I kept my feet dry,
have I so far made it across.
I look into the brown eyes
of my young black dog,
and can’t help but do the math.
My heart breaks in the knowing
of that distant day when he tells me —
it is time. When do we begin
to die? not at birth, surely,
there’s such a rush to life
for so long, but it slows somewhere,
somehow deep inside of itself
it starts to slow, until one day
as we sit together talking,
this slowing shows itself
in our faces, in our eyes, in our first
clear diminishing, and then we know,
yes we know. We’ve had a week now
of cold nights and windy mornings
the clouds dropping down, scraping
the tops of the aspens, stripping them
of leaves. Snow will come soon
to these mountains, but for today,
I still have this chair by the stream,
still the sounds of the stream over stones,
still a black dog warming his bones
in the late day sun. for today,
this is sufficient. for today this
is wealth enough for a life.