these are not good days but she doesn’t know the difference (poem)

Aiko, photo by Kate Holly-Clark

This is pretty much why 
I have a dog. It’s hard except when she comes over to me 
and leans her head against mine and we are 
forehead to forehead

breathe mama, she thinks at me and

I let out the caught-up tightness in my ribs 
because the world is very hard this week 
and has been for many weeks 
and there are such small things 
that we can do to be helpful and try 
to make it better and helpless

Is so much worse than pain.

So today we took a beautiful day
walked on a street in a small city 
with all the people I can do so little to help

and I kept her lead slack 
and she nosed up close 
to person after person 
giving licky kisses and 
leaning her whole body into people 
who looked a little lost

she’s a little thing 
and it was a little thing

good girl, beautiful girl, he said 
sitting next to his backpack and sleeping bag

I’m sure she told him keep breathing.

Aiko singing, photo by Kythryne Aisling