He was your animal twin, wilful
and independent, nothing
lap-dog about him,
always running on the perimeter of distance a human voice
could call him back from.
Something geometric in the positioning
between you, a kind of invisible thread
making time, distance and solid matter
irrelevant. I swear, when you were away
he slept with one ear slightly raised.
When I failed you and we separated
there was no question of who had custody
but you were generous with visits
and when he went blind and stiff in the hips,
you carried him over the threshold to see me.
We sat together remembering Aberdovey,
how he used to outrun himself chasing gulls
on the sand. At night I watched your head levitating
a millimetre above the pillow on the put-me-up-bed
listening to his struggle beneath us.
In the small hours I came down and found you
crouched at his head, nestling your cheek
into his baby-soft muzzle, I lay my hand,
feather-light with fear, on the staccato
rise and fall of his belly.
He didn’t take his last breath
so much as give it, his green-black eyes
staying on us, seeming to say, ‘understand
love, even loss,