Scour the bathroom, the kitchen,
spray tiles with a film of diluted bleach,
wipe them with a rag once used to towel
off my diabetic dachshund, who now sniffs
leaves in the yard, eyes milky, a canine Tiresius.
On hands and knees, I scrub the floor,
try to erase stains I had once taken
for prefab designs on ceramic,
working to end this cleansing,
to conquer the scullery, at least for today.
In the laundry room I strip off sweaty
jeans and T-shirt, slink naked and shy
through the empty house to the shower,
a rinse and fresh clothes before grounding
my feet on the mat, folding into child’s pose.
Push up to hands and knees, curl onto the balls
of my feet, press with palms, sitting bones
pointed at the ceiling, shoulders broad
in Adho Muhka Svanasana, Downward Facing Dog.
Deep breaths of relief. Later in the yard
the dachshund tilts his furry hind parts
toward the sky, widens his ribs toward the earth,
sneezes twice, zigzags around a tree stump.
Even without his sight, he knows where home
is, does not hope to see past this moment.
I wrote this poem about two months ago. Even then I knew my dog was very sick, but I thought we might still have another few years with him. But the little guy died on Sunday afternoon. My son Freeboarder said, “he did everything in his life he was meant to do.”