Paralysis

The summer both Mama and our dog
Had a herniated disk in their lower backs
Both cried in pain and in sympathy.

We talked about death and quality of life
Which didn’t feel so different
There on our kitchen floor.

I sat with my coffee and a book
In the early morning
The dog already in pain
(Not early enough)
My hand resting on his panting head
Not comforting enough.

It is not easy to look into a dog’s eyes
As he is waiting to end.

He aged within three days
Becoming paralyzed.
The cat stopped by to smell his legs
And for a second I thought they might work again.
We read him stories to let him imagine that they would.

I brought a mattress into the living room
To sleep beside the dog
With our heads resting close
Each breathing in our own animal way.

/michal

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