Dog-Gone

(Dedicated to Wolfen, who deserved better)

There is too much failure in flesh and bone
to mete the measure of a dog’s faith
and so when death leaves me alone
I tread through woods in search of his wraith.

What is that shade following from behind
that I scarce glimpse but in twilit gray?
The best friend I will never again find—
gone, too soon, and missed every day.

It must be true, I believe, that if heaven exists,
all dogs are Assumed into its celestial ranks,
but I also know that in Death’s parting mists
I may well find myself on infernal banks.

Truly, my greatest sin was to a friend
whose sin was to love one unworthy of love
and if I meet him again, at the very end,
his heart will decide if I go below or above.

It is a cruel joke that Man should enchain
as if he does not, himself, need to be fettered;
we think ourselves lords over this fickle plane,
but only by a dog’s love are we bettered.

Let me repeat this, so there is no doubt—
a dog might treat any devilish man so well
as a god in life, but when that man’s life runs out
there is no place for him but in Hell.

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