My greatest gift I found lying on the side of the road.
Barely a body left to show
for what you once had been. When I got you in the car
I thought the worst of it was behind us.
The rest was up to you. I knew that.
Would you ever trust me?
I surrender, you told me, baring your stomach.
Skeleton still visible beneath your red hair, burnt black in patches
To see that someone had tortured an animal as someone
had tortured you
made me enraged to be human.
Every vet who saw you called you a miracle dog,
said they didn’t understand
why you were still alive.
This dog’s spirit hasn’t been broken, said one. Leave him,
come back in two weeks. If he’s still alive. I need time,
alone, to try to save him.
Your body tried to quit
again and again, but you kept on.
Fear in my heart now that one day,
your great heart will stop beating.
Remember that promise you made late one night?
That time I asked you to live forever and somewhere
in your eyes you said Yes.
for my Uncle David
All works © 2017, Shelley Hesse. All Rights Reserved.