My dog dies when I was 13.
The vet said she drank too much antifreeze
and that she was never coming out of the coma.
When I was young I used to think that her nose
had healing powers.
If I had a headache I would press her nose
against my forehead, and feel better.
And now her nose was dry and still.
As we walked out of the animal hospital that night
the moon was the color of cold hands
sweating a ring around the night
and the stars were scattered like roadkill
on the black pavement of the sky
raccoon teeth and
The road home was made of glass
and I looked for you in windows
and in trees
because I was afraid of hell
but mostly I just missed you.
A week later
my brother and I attended
a youth conference and the
preacher asked us to raise our
hands if we had lost a pet recently.
Then he told us that all of our
dead pets are exactly that,
that no dogs go to heaven because
they don’t have souls.
And as the adults heaved their
and as the preacher made
more jokes than sense
my brother held his crumbling face
in his hands
and wept as quietly as he could.
I put my arm around him,
and in my young heart
vowed to kill that preacher.
I leaned over gently
and whispered to my brother
that if Jesus is coming back on a white horse
then there must be stables in heaven
full of them.
And that means there has to be
dogs running loose in the golden streets
pissing on the sapphire hydrants
digging up alabaster bones
and tugging at the crystal robes