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Somewhere out there a red doberman’s bones rest in the deep woods. He lies beneath the mouldy-scented earth made from ancient maples, oaks, and silt from the overflowing creek.  His master put a bullet in his brain and buried him there. Last night I wondered if he leashed him to a tree to do the deed?  I wondered why he taught his dogs to taunt and terrify a caged raccoon, how could this sport be justified?  My father held me while I cried so hard. And then I wondered why he came to my father’s funeral when he assured us he would not because he does not attend those kinds of things. Yet in he walked with them, the aged Con-Ed gang, fugitives from a ghost gallery, clinging together, this group of men whose names I heard all my life. I wonder if he remembers his dog in the middle of the night.

The whales came early and the wind has returned. Ten knots and rising.  The rain is apparent on the roof. Sunrise two hours ahead.  I played with a black doberman and his buddy the red on the beach today, then I lay in bed for hours tonight curled in a ball waiting for the pain to stop, then suddenly asked myself what kind of dignified woman just lies there and takes it? How is lying there hoping the pain will stop anytime now wise or mature, like it’s my job and responsibility to suffer? Or all those nights I couldn’t breathe, stubborn in the belief that me and my clogged bronchi would fight through it without need of a chemical and everything would be just fine. I mean, oxygen isn’t that important for good sleep, am I right?  I have a right to breathe, and I have a right to sleep without pain. (Oh, and the list doesn’t end there.)  Tonight I couldn’t sleep thinking about dignity, the first time I heard that word and what it means to me now. It’s hard to sleep when the walls are breaking, when the past is shedding, flowing away into a cold, rainy, beautiful night, so I got up to write.

Somewhere out there a broken bone is mending, the body sleeps in a cozy and needed bed of opiate. I asked him to feed his mind/body/soul with all good things for healing. He hears me in a fuzzy kind of way, and I know the rest is up to him. I wonder when he will hear the word dignity and truly heed its meaning and make it his own.  It’s not a despairing kind of wonder, because I know it will fall on him the way things fall on me in the middle of the night. So. I will take two Tylenol, my own advice, then see what kind of day I will make for me. Damn that wind is high.