The Way We Said Goodbye by Ted Kooser, U.S. Poet Laureate

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American Life in Poetry: Column 578

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

I can’t help wishing that dogs lived as long as we do. I have buried a number of them, and it doesn’t get any easier. In fact, it gets harder. Here’s Mark Vinz, a Minnesota poet, from his book Permanent Record and Other Poems, from Red Dragonfly Press.

The Way We Said Goodbye

So many years later, the old dog
still circles, head lowered, crippled by
arthritis, nearly blind, incontinent.
We repeat the litany, as if we need
convincing that the end is right.

I’ll get her an ice cream cone if you’ll
drive her to the vet, my wife says.
So there we sit on the front steps
with our friend, and in the car, as always,
when she senses the doctor’s office
drawing near, she moans and tries to
burrow underneath the seats.

 What remains, the memory of how
she taught us all the way we need
to learn to live with wasting.
There we sit, together, one last time
as all that sweetness slowly disappears.

Category: Life, Other Poets | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 comments

  • Bill says:

    It never gets any easier. This poem captures it perfectly.

    [Reply]

    poeticfool Reply:

    So true, Bill. We had to put down our beloved Sheltie last November due to cancer. It’s never easy. Vinz captures that marvelously in his poem. Thanks for reading!

    [Reply]


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