February Evening

A poem about a dog, and time, and love

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Photo by Regine Tholen on Unsplash

Daisy deposits herself
with a sigh
on the spot beside the stove
that she likes.

She is here because I am.
She rests her snout upon
her right paw, slightly offset
so that her mouth
meets the floor.

Her eyes are closed, or nearly.
Heat radiates from
the side of the stove,
which I hope soothes
her old hips.

She limps every morning now
and eyes the steps
down to the yard
with trepidation.

After some
hesitation, she sort of tumbles
down the stairs, letting
her front paws navigate
while her back legs
helplessly pedal
the air behind her.

I sit cross-legged
on the kitchen floor,
missing the chipped white stool
that once stood,
when the floor was still linoleum.

Missing the wood board
that pulled out from the counter
where my toddler boy
and I used to breakfast
together
of a morning.

It’s 20 years later
than those times.

I failed to consider
my love for that pull-out board,
that painted stool.
The board was
chucked
in the remodel. The kitchen,
too small for a table.

For two decades,
I have missed
that perfect,
rudimentary
set-up
that allowed me
to write in the kitchen,
drink wine in the kitchen,
sip coffee in the kitchen,
listen to jazz,
on my grandpa’s radio,
in the kitchen.

Oh, I do it still,
as I am now.
But now I sit on the cork floor,
feet splayed out
before me.

It’s not comfortable
for long.

Daisy’s snout is pointed
my direction, a mere eight inches
from my bare toes.

Her dear face is white.
Her black-rimmed eyes
almost closed.

Each time I glance at her,
she meets my gaze.
Her eyelashes are blonde.
Her eyes shine
like obsidian.

And just like that,
it’s gone.

I’m in a new moment.
The yogurt-marinated chicken roasts,
tucked in a dutch oven,
a new technique for me.

Beets, Brussels sprouts, red onion,
sweet potato, scallions,
and garlic
sizzle softly
in a sheet pan
on the wire rack
above the chicken.

The old radio atop the fridge
plays a French jazz tune, fulgent
and languid, with horn.

The rain has stopped.
The world outside is dark
and wet.

Daisy is gone, sheltering
beneath the dining table
after getting bumped by
the swinging kitchen door.

The chicken crackles.
Contemplative notes
of electric guitar
carve the air.
A snare peppers
the pauses with its
distinctive rattle.

In the living room,
my son sits,
quite still,
on a mediation cushion,
facing the window.

His father
in an armchair nearby
admires the sleek tortoiseshell
at his elbow,
elegant with her radically
curved back.

“It’s the good life, to be
free and explore the
unknown,” croons the singer
from the fridge.
“Please remember, I still love you.”

Writer, copywriter, editor, and word lover. Subscribe to my newsletter at christywhite.substack.com

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