Two years upon a shelf his ashes sat,
incarcerated in a silver urn.
He'd come to her when life had been unkind;
he'd helped to ease the pain inside her soul.

Down through the years, as love eluded her,
the poodle kept her heart from sinking low;
he filled the void left by the man she lost;
the poodle never ventured from her side.

She'd run with him each day beneath the trees;
then, shaded from the sun, she'd read a book.
He'd chase the squirrels in playful puppy style,
his frisking tail a symbol of delight.

Sometimes he'd stop to rest and lick her hand;
she'd pat his head and softly ask, "Enough?"
When time had robbed him of his zest to run,
she'd snuggle him and sit beneath the trees.

The day that he succumbed she seemed to cope
but said that she must always keep him near --
"This home is all he's ever known," she said,
"and I'll feel better knowing that he's close."

Today I saw the mound beneath the tree;
I watched the chatting creatures scampering,
then suddenly, as they skittered up the trunk,
I thought I saw her poodle running free.

I thanked my Lord and laid an apple bloom
atop my daughter's tiny poodle's grave,
and in my heart I knew without a doubt
that time had healed and finally freed them both.

Copyright 1996 Ruth Gillis

Previously published in the May 1996
issue of Poet's Review,
and the Fall 1996 issue of
The Candlelight Poetry Journal


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