though blind for months,
you’d still climb onto the divan
you shared with your brother,
on chill nights.
you’d sleep in bliss for hours.
waking, you’d stand, shake yourself,
move to the edge, and
sniffing the air for new obstacles,
take a leap of faith.
as you flew and landed
on the cool wood floor,
your face was unforgettable,
full of courage and joy.
when you left,
your body was so empty of you,
I understood it was a dissolution,
an honest facing down
of the impetus to rise.
you took another leap of faith,
my point dog,
and showed me where I’m going.
you’re hunting now, says a friend:
body to ashes, and then to dust.
when we meet again, I’ll be your huntress.
the love you were
will be most deeply missed.
Leap of faith is a memorial to my dog Grey-Grey, who died on Sunday, 9 September 2007 at the age of 14+ years. A ‘point dog’ is the lead dog on a sled dog team. A point dog takes direction from the person driving the team, but is also expected to change course on his or her own, if danger is sensed – like soft ice or a new crevasse under the snow. In this sense, the point dog shows the person and the dog team where to go.
Grey-Grey’s brother, Bear, was still alive when this poem was written. He died on 25 April, 2008. A memorial to Bear is here.
© 13 Sep 2007 Heather Quinn