The children are gone. No one to harass him,
no one to rub his belly, no one for him to sleep on
with his snorting snoring dead weight;
eventually to be pushed off their bed sliding to the floor.
It was his cue to guard and wait in case a monster should appear;
or their Guardian Angel should escape.
Though, neither ever did.
He sleeps on his worn multi colored “blankie”
in the hallway by the cellar door. Frame still marked with fading
number two pencils recording the incremental height and ages
of all his best friends; with yikes and eeks with progress proclaimed,
including him-self. Except for being a little wider,
his last few marks of height hardly changed.
He wakes at the groan and creak of the sticking kitchen door.
Once a signal for action now takes some comfort in what he sees,
not having to get up, greeting only me.
I miss the squirrels that insisted on joining me
when I sat under the shade of our China Maple tree.
And, those in the woods that would introduce themselves,
seeing my small sack of pumpkin seeds,
chattering along the path in welcoming screech.
And you too, my fine companion, Bubba-Acorn St.Louis;
chasing the squirrels that taunted you, scurrying to be seen,
sometimes on a branch as low as three feet.
They would squat and you would watch them peeling in propensity
as they filled their cheeks, scattering chipped empty split shells
that you would forever sniff with acceptance,
and patience, as they gathered at your feet;
as if returning a kiss, half on guard and half asleep.
And, when that final evening fell, having yourself to go home,
reminding me it was time for me to go alone
to refill an empty bag with something other than a handful of seeds.
The house is for sale now.
The woods have been logged.
Weeds choke the once abundant gardens.
The flowerbeds strain to push up the surviving perennials.
The walkway, pressed down by melting snow and driving rains
is covered with un-swept leaves.
The house is empty of comfortable furniture, warmth, and laughter.
I’m frozen at the door.
Bubba passed away yesterday,
no one left to meet me as I come through the door.
Melancholy embraces me. I explain, apologizing
“no one I know lives here anymore”.
I turn and leave without a trace, to a place I have never been before.