there was no dog this winter

there was no slipping on the ice

there was no ice stuck between her pads

no crashing across the hard-froze top of the night-old snow

there was not the black warmth of my long-time dog

nor cold nose

nor laying in snow as i charged up my bike

no extra chicken necks and extra-pained hips

no pattering, no hesitating in the ice-slick foyer tile

no silent pain from my ever-silent dog

whose every claw clench on the hard-froze sent shocks into her hips

and she

not a word

and she

not a tear

and she

walked off not

she did not abandon

she did not retreat to an under-tree to die

she merely lay under the glass desk

her chin on my feet, said

“you know the medicines are insufficient …

“you know that it is my soiling on the bed

and i, i am so ashamed, please forgive me

but i do enjoy the window while you at work

“and the stairs are full of scares

for i see only dimly now

and the depths are not defined and my eyes, well, they trick me