Portrait of Mable Departing ~ Frannie Lindsay


                            … yet do not grieve;
she cannot fade, though thou has not thy bliss,
forever wilt thou love and she be fair!

                                       —John Keats, Ode to a Grecian Urn


One clump at a time the dog fur abandons the dog.
Next go the toenails, tail-tip, abundantly tickled

insides of ears, the lacey detritus of her
slipping free with the nonchalance of a garter snake.

Next go her sepia teeth and the five dry kibbles that crust
her dish, next the trash bag that carries them out,

and the wheeze of the Tuesday truck and the handsome,
foul-mouthed boys clambering off the back,

next the corduroy bed stored in the basement
beside the ice skates,

the puttings away, the slow forgettings,
the knucklebone scarred with chew-marks a keepsake now,

next the siren with no howling to echo it, next
the grass her urine scalded

greened over, the cataracts dimming the days in August
and the nights that bring enough crickets to breathe

next the grit her paws tracked in from the street
finally the carpet grayed with it finally the house

and the key and the dweller finally
the street itself


                                                      for Joaquim