Gone

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Today I walked again where once I walked a dog:

I walked a winding path imprinted in my head,

past tumbled trunks on mashed and matted leaves,

by river running over rocks,

with no black dog ahead, no loyal boy,

now dead ten years, not here,

yet I am here, the path the same.

 

The dog I hardly know in memory,

a dog replaced as all dogs are.

I know I loved him, that is all;

I know I held him as he breathed last heaving breaths.

 

All this comes back, with smells of smoke and fall

and red leaves dropping

as I return to rooms where women died,

to men left womanless and lost,

last breaths and sounds of time,

the presence of the absence,

not-thereness now of women and of dogs,

their ghosts still moving in my mind.

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