I had a dog that loved to weave figure eights
between the front and back of the living room curtains,
the sheer fabric grazing his flanks like palm fronds.
Eyes nearly closed, he wouldn’t lift an ear when I called,
wouldn’t nose the milk bone I offered or scramble barking
for the door when the mail dropped in. Fully immersed
in his infinity-shaped motion, he had no name, no past,
no hunger other than feeling the curtains drift over him.
He did the same outside with the willow and the fountain grass,
but the curtains were his favorite. I feared a brain tumor
or some other neuro-disorder, but the vet said no, it’s called
trancing, a source of comfort, a kind of canine meditation
not uncommon in rescues, which Boomer was.
He’s long gone now, but I still think of his trancing and wish
that I were so absorbed in the world outside me
that I’m the last thing on my mind. Myself no more
needy than the air waiting to be stirred into wind, or the creek
falling all over itself to lose itself in the river, me and not me
at the same time, time uninvented while I trance on the city’s
grids and towers, its edges surrounded by the sine waves
of mountains shifting from blue to blue in my obsession
to get it all down before I snap out of it.
by Eric Nelson
Editor’s Note: This poem shows us how much our beloved pets still have to teach us, even in the midst of grief, trauma, and recovery.