who lost her too soon. She was very much at the heart of Blogville and will be sorely missed.
It was the beginning I never anticipated--belief that there were no limits that made tragedy inevitable, a gentle nuzzle that made the walls fall away, and the pull of the leash into the day’s infinitude.
It was an ending I did not expect; a leash laid across the chair, an empty bed, a glass tipped over, spilling the blood of wine. The noise that empty rooms make is as clear as tears.
In between, there are the stories of friends, of joy and dog hair, of a small pink ball with feet known as Mr. Squeaky, which became my mortal enemy at dawn, as I tried to sleep. There are tales of the great "bacon incident" and how I know more about how to clean carpet than should be allowed by law. There are words that twist and turn in the shade of an ancient tree, a sonnet to an old dog, who lies between the bones of poets, to be unearthed as he releases me to remember.
A couch sits across from me, absent of a form that claimed it for ten years. Under the table, are a few favorite toys, sticks and stones that now break my bones, even as I cannot bear to part with them. I sit, the solitary dreamer, pulled to the perimeters of memory that can’t yet be mapped. I sit, a cowboy without his sidekick, my defense laid down on the bar, nursing the hurt with one part tears and two parts single malt. Barkley's things are stacked by the door, as ordered as rifle cartridges, a dog's length from the barrel of the bottle. That bottle is a place I do not want to lose myself, I think as small sounds come from my chest, as the rumble of thunder infinitely remote, the vibration of grief down deep inside, tremulous and impartial and waiting.
But grieving with memories is better than nothing without them and the only thing worse than not being alive, is not having anything to remember.
So for tonight, I will simply pour a finger of warmth and put the bottle aside to sit, to wait for something I cannot name, but of which I can still remember. I'll remember the alone as a white shirt on the line, flapping in the hot wind. I'll remember the together as the sound of a puppy's whimper. I will remember it all as a forested night pouring down upon us every star ever perceived, as we learned to walk together, of fresh grass and soft ice cream, wood smoke and black powder, of black fur and white knights and love unexpected. I'll remember it and write of it, as a discarding of pain, as a leap into unknown air, a dog, a moment, so worthy of the price.
Our wounds we wear like temporary garments until they are forgotten, but our stories, we don them as forever.
- From The Book of Barkley, Outskirts Press 2014