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