the whir and whine
of blackberry clouds
voices going around
cliffs be damned
and then coming around
mother heeding her daughters’ cries
at long last
licking her wounds –
sure –
but also, finally, theirs as well.

Our lives are about to change.

In just a few days, we are bringing home a new puppy, a nine-week-old cockapoo male who paraded, with a most princely demeanor, for us when we drove to the breeder’s a week and a half ago to make our selection.

I am terrified.

OK. Terrified might be overstating things a tad. But I do seesaw between bouts of elation and grave concerns of ‘what are we getting ourselves into’. Since my 20’s, I’ve wanted a dog. I pored over library books and dog magazines describing, with delightful glossy photos and charming details, all the various breeds and imagined myself and my new best friend hiking through the woods or curled up in a comfy chair as I read, scratching its lovely ears, rubbing its belly, basking in its unconditional love. Which one suited me best? Always (and still!), I find myself drawn to the big guys: Great Danes, Weimaraners, Labrador Retrievers, Airedale Terriers. I adore Bulldogs, Basset Hounds, Bernese Mountain Dogs and, surprisingly of late, Pugs. Jack Russells, I love you too!

When I retired a year ago, getting a puppy was on my To Do list. After a period of time acclimating to my newfound freedom, I am finally ready to take the plunge into puppyhood – and beyond. Getting hubs on board was also a consideration… I’m happy to report he is, while maybe not as enthusiastically as I am, ‘all in’. He even offered last night to take the day off after we bring puppy home. How sweet is that?

There are sure to be frustrations and aggravations. My goal is to provide the required (and necessary) firm but gentle guidance with a backdrop of calm and stress-free, or as best as I can manage. Coco and I will have our days to ourselves while Bill slaves away at the office and with that, all the time we’ll need to get to know each other, establish solid routines, long walks and backyard training sessions. Oh, but I aim for a well-mannered doogie!!


‘Tis what I strive for anyway. That’s where the ‘terror’ comes in. Can I do this? Do I possess the necessary patience and positivity? And if not, can I cultivate it from somewhere deep within me knowing that it’s what’s best for Coco and, ultimately, for me and for us as well. I’m straying here a bit now from the canine and delving into the heart of desirable human attributes. Will owning and loving a dog make me a better person? I don’t know (yet) the answer to that question but I’m betting that it will. Oh. And from a practical perspective, I’m hoping, too, that the messes and late night treks to the backyard and garfed up shoes and shredded toilet paper will be a minutely small price to pay for those dark eyes of his and his black button nose.

Wish me well, please. I think I’m going to need it.

Days long gone
carefree and electric
parallel lines, swim lanes
deep blue
shimmery diamonds
glinting in the sun
three dog night
blasting through the summer heat
wings too: band on the run
diving and thriving
across and back
in a single breath.
Our own water world
adolescent explorations
body images exposed
and shapened,
social intercourse
hits and misses
for six young girls isolated
from small town city life
laughable, now
our burg’s population: 3000
hardly a metropolis.
Municipal swimming pool
our Shangri-La, our Shambala
our Midwest Martha’s Vineyard.

not undone
nor remade.
Certainly never
or forlorn.
Naked Goliaths
running toward white lights
seams bursting
flesh tearing
in mellow frames
of neon tomorrows.
Rest, ye weary
boots on wings,
schooners on rails.
May your mysteries
be elevated to higher seas
limned in crystal fire.