Charlie hasn’t forgotten me;
Still visits sometimes,
Breaking into a joyous run, almost a gallop,
Eager to feel my familiar touch,
Warm on his face.
His eyes still gleam
As brilliantly as the polished ornaments
I adorned the Christmas fir with,
While he capered about madly beneath,
With some undecipherable wonder on his face.
I don’t seem to have aged much,
Hence I gather not many years have rolled.
But Charlie’s persona, once intensely animated,
Now seems slightly punctured.
His dulling figure looks older, dimmer, a little broken.
Charlie only comes to me when no one is looking.
When Ma, Pap or Nana are near, he keeps a safe distance from me,
But watches me untiringly like a guardian,
Fearful, that if he unlatches his intent gaze,
We might lose each other again.
After it happened,
Ma hasn’t spoken to me.
Though we do lock eyes occasionally,
But it mostly seems that she beholds something par me.
Her vision is distant, searching, almost hopeful.
Peeking in through the crack in Pap’s study door,
I sometimes catch a glimpse of him wiping his wet eyes.
Nan hardly shows movement anymore,
Sitting in his chair all day long, deep in thought
With a faint look of grief on his brittle face.
Gradually, unwillingly, I accept the bitter reality
That Charlie, my beloved Retriever,
Is the only one who can sense my presence anymore.
And as he cuddled at my diminishing feet even closer that night,
I swore to a silent oath, of a friendship beyond eternity.