For the Queen, Mother

Born: Date Unknown
Died: January 23, 2016

Plato could distinguish the dog from the essence of the dog.
Stevens strained to see not ideas about the thing but the thing itself.
Damn them both.
Or praise them, I don’t know.
In my mind: the dark face of dignity.
Ever calm. Ever pure.
The queen, free,
Your enforced matronly duties at last behind you.
Now, the grace of long strides loping,
Light as cellophane, grazing over the tops of green grass
Across Busse Park on a Sunday morning
Under the eye of heaven.
Now, sitting for a cracker.
Now, nestling your head between my knees so the brown body
Could be scratched in its full length
And please don’t stop.
Don’t stop.
No, don’t stop.
Yes, right there, the base of the tail.
Oh, don’t stop.
Enduring the bounding nips of young cousins.
Basking in the quiet sun on any afternoon.
Never mind a face ravaged, in the rush to time’s eternal lines,
Putrid and swollen the size of a ripe hedge apple,
By some all-too-familiar and well-chronicled evil.
Eddy would call it error. Not the thing itself.
I ignore her. Ignore Stevens. Ignore Plato.
Idea or thing, the idea or thing of me,
To my great good fortune,
Knew you
And served you, as I could,
Your only orders in retirement.
Two walks a day. Breakfast and dinner at the 5:30s. A treat now and then.
And those nuzzling scratches.
Not enough, I want to say,
Nor surely not for long enough.
But depth and breadth and height,
Breath, smiles, tears …
I ache to lose the idea of you;
Yet fondly kiss and ever keep
The thing itself.


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