Lessons from an Old Dog


We’re both aging, my dog and I.

Differently, I do battle with each

pain of encroaching arthritis.

Stretch, lift as worry burbles up

and pours its deceit over everything.

Worry, if I stop moving I’ll never move again.

Fight up hill or be stuck on the flats


Tighten abs to descend the stairs

without holding on, testing, testing


Dog, his muzzle more grey than black,

just keeps going with me.

He stumbles up the hills

delighting in the smells of each bush.

His hurricane tail greets his leash

with constant enthusiasm.

His legs splay out mounting the stairs.

No sound, no dismay just up,

move on.  His feet trip him up

on the kitchen floor.  His crossed

back legs send his rear end crashing.

Through it all his plumed tail wags

its rhythm of delight.

Alive in a world of calling smells,

he doesn’t seem to mind if he doesn’t

hear me leave the room.  He eventually

goes on the hunt.  Dim eyes can’t find me

until I clap and yell his name.  His tail

wags, he lays down content with his world.

For now, he knows where he is.

He knows where I am and

that is enough.

    Janice Eskridge © 2015

About Winding Stream Press

Janice DeRuiter Eskridge, M.F.A. is a poet who worked for over a decade as a poet-teacher for California Poets in the Schools. Helen Shoemaker, Ph.D. L.M.F.T. is a university professor who teaches in the areas of child development and counseling. She is also a therapist in private practice.
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