For all you dog lovers out there, my poem about an old friend – ‘Only a Dog’.

Rain-printed marks on the kitchen floor;

Out of sheer habit, I open the door

To empty space, surprised to find he isn’t there.

He isn’t there where he used to stand

As if dressed in a grey rug askew with age;

Or standing next to me nudging my arm

And wagging a hopeful tail as I turn the page.

He’s not there any more stuck half-way up the stairs

Or lying in the hall waiting for dinner

With one eye on the door.

He isn’t there any more on the windswept hill

Running in mad circles in the rain.

I half expect him to come bundling through the grass

But he doesn’t come; and he never will again.

I clean the floor and take away his blunt-clawed signature,

Cursing myself for being a bloody fool,

But still wishing for the impossible.

photo of a dog