The Way We Said Goodbye 


So many years later, the old dog

still circles, head lowered, crippled by

arthritis, nearly blind, incontinent.

We repeat the litany, as if we need

convincing that the end is right.


I'll get her an ice cream cone if you'll

drive her to the vet, my wife says.

So there we sit on the front steps

with our friend, and in the car, as always,

when she senses the doctor's office

drawing near, she moans and tries to

burrow underneath the seats.


What remains, the memory of how

she taught us all the way we need

to learn to live with wasting.

There we sit, together, one last time

as all that sweetness slowly disappears.


Mark Vinz, a Minnesota poet, from his book Permanent Record and Other Poems, from Red Dragonfly Press.