For Frida, Who Brought the Wag & the Love

Years ago I wrote a post, While I Write, My Dog Waits for Me, all about our faithful Frida Beano who came to us unexpectedly and changed our lives:

“Funny thing, after being assured that we were unable to have children, three months after settling down to spoil our mutt-mixed babydog, we discovered we were going to have a baby, a for real, of our own, baby-baby. I have always credited Frida with opening some door in the universe through which our child traveled to find us.”

Of course, time has passed, more time–busy with the now-big kiddo and the writing, the teaching, the scrambling to make life happen–than I realized. She had slowed over the years, but I have, too. Everything seemed about right with all of us until Friday night.

Goodbyes have rained down hard these last months.

We had our girl for nearly 14 years. Realistically, I knew we wouldn’t have her with us forever, but the moment, the actual parting isn’t about realism, but about the wound, the rift, the hollow.

When there is no puzzle I can solve, no work my hands can do to fix what’s broken–I have to sit down with it and cope the way I know to cope. This is for Frida and for the towhee who is explaining all the ways the world feels wrong without her. I know, bird, I know.

Frida Runs into the Backyard One More Time 

in a picture I tried to paint but lost courage/and stacked the pastels in their drawer/slammed, reopened, arranged correctly, closed again gently

From outside, a towhee calls you, coming closer/closer to the porch, to the sliding glass door, all afternoon, expectant/startling and resettling, then sounding again from the back of the deck chair/where she would see you before you would see her

This ritual of surprise insists/the familiar repeat itself—the towhee whistles that you will, any minute/this minute, again, now, again if she sings again

a series of whoots, her name for you, Suddenly, Clod Thrower/or possibly Explosion/but the last syllable of your name was bird laughter, even  when I/was the one calling

Frida Runs in the Yard

Our Dear Old Love




About metonymicalpen

I earned an M.F.A. from Goddard College in 2013. Since then, my work has received the 2013 Beacon Street Prize in Short Fiction and the 2014 John Steinbeck Short Fiction Award. My stories have appeared in REED, reDivider, The Concho River Review, Sou'wester, Moon City Review, and elsewhere. Currently, I live in the desert with my family , but I am trying to move us closer to water. We need an ocean to float all of our ideas.
This entry was posted in dogs, family, fragility, Grief, grieving, poem, Uncategorized and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to For Frida, Who Brought the Wag & the Love

  1. Sunny Hemphill says:

    When we lost Sadie, I was sure our hearts would carry a hole just her size and shape forever. I think maybe I was right. I’m seriously sorry to hear about sweet Frida.

  2. oh dear god, this made me cry too. Beautiful, my dear.

  3. Lara Yurman says:

    I was afraid to read it. You know how I am. It is good that I did. I read it again for the catharsis. And again.
    Thank you.

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