One Last Dream Before He Goes

No hollowed out haunch, no alligatored spine
No faltering limbs plunging his face to the floor
No failing appetite staring at the water
No, in his dream, he is muscular and sure
His front paws twitch because somewhere he has caught a bird
His back legs pulse because somewhere they push him hard
like a runner coming out of the blocks.
His whiskers flutter as he responds one last time
to orphic blue jays that dive and scream.

Spaulding sleeps now. His breaths, so small, rise and fall
above the mound that is the growth in his abdomen.

Sleep, Spauld, sleep. We pray to God your soul to keep.
If you die before you wake, then that is a great gift He has made.

Leonides

Our old truck’s radio crackled the Blue Danube
Waltz as the blacktop dissolved and gravel rushed to
replace it. The susurrus of the truck’s tires matched
the station’s stutter and as we stared through the glass
of the windshield, we wondered if the streaks of our
hoped-for meteors weren’t a form of interstellar
static, white flickers on the night sky’s screen.

*The draft of this poem is from before Lily’s birth.*