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Tuesday, 25 December 2018

BARNEY

For the first time in ages all the family is together.
Everyone is together, and I’ve had my favourite meal.
They are fussing over me, tickling behind my ears
like they’ve done a thousand times before.
These ears that have pricked at a thousand doorbells
don’t hear so well anymore.
These legs that have chased a thousand squirrels
have lost their zip.
This nose has sniffed a thousand bottoms
but now mostly snuffles against warm blankets.
These paws are losing their grip

but this heart still pumps with the love it has felt
for sixteen years, since they brought me home.
This head is misted with memories:
bounding through snow that first, excited winter;
lapping at the sprinkler when summer licked the lawn;
yapping on the stairs every morning at dawn
and leaping on the couch
when I knew that I shouldn’t.

For the first time in ages all the family is together.
Everyone is together, and we’re in this room.
I’ve been here once or twice before
but this time it seems different.
This morning the woman with the white gloves on
is not adorned with her usual smile.
This morning a heaviness hangs from the walls.
The faces around me are puffed with apologies
as clouds collect outside the window

but  through the clouds I can see the sun
with a whistle in its mouth sounding notes for me.
I can see the trees waving silently
and the birds dancing with something like joy.
The sky is calling me:
‘Good boy! Good boy!’
The sky is calling:
‘Good boy…”

For the first time in ages all the family is together.
Everyone is together, and I’m getting tired.
I’ve just eaten my favourite meal
and they’re fussing over me.
There’s the woman in white, with the white gloves on
and my family are tickling behind my ears
and their faces are swimming  out of focus
and I think I can smell the salt in their tears
and although these ears don’t hear so well
I can hear the love of sixteen years
and I want to tell them I love them too.

I want to tell them I love them too
but I feel tired now; so tired so tired
I feel tired now. So tired


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