We write often of it now.
Nature and substance,
its longevity, or otherwise.
Pulling pieces from the Times
and internet, speeches by the Dalai Lama,
latest reckonings from neuroscience.
And still we know nothing except
somewhere there’s the smile of a child
and his distant antics,
or memories of days
when walks along cliff tops
were still possible,
the sound of goat bells on the wind
your hand in mine
as I smooth creases from your palm.
We never gave much thought;
that it could simply vanish
like sand through open fingers.
You don’t normally write about this
but you remember it anyway.
How when you were twelve
you looked after a friend’s dog
and it ran into the mealie field
across the ditch to where the sheep
were kept as they waited to lamb.
The farmer saw the dog running
took aim and shot it right there.
You tried to collect the carcass but
it was too heavy for those puny/too slight
arms. And then you had to tell the friend
how the pet that kept her warm
at night, who listened to her
in the dark, wasn’t coming back.