Friday, November 23, 2007

You (or at Least Three of You) Asked for It

Stopping the Dog's Heart

The time chosen, it happened, was sunset.
Gathered around, we, your human cadre.
Pistachios, cake, mountain over there.
The doctor arrived late--harried, contrite, polite--
on a motorbike.
You had started to stand. Tufts of your hair,
loosed by pairs of moving hands,
blew over the lawn like summer snow.
It was time. How long had you known what
that hole was there for, divested of its rocky contents
and waiting; when once more filled up and quiet,
a place with a royal view for one whose eyes
no longer could see.
You accepted everything that was given to you: pat, salt
tears on your head, bits of bread. Tourniquet.
Held in a lap, legs stiff, you watched. The vista never changed.
The breeze blew, and of course a hawk was spied. Up, go up,
he said--You're free.
The agent was pink liquid. The angel that bore you away had
arrived on wings of science, the long great study of anatomy and
It will burn a bit, he'd said.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson


backah4 said...

I have just finished "The Perfect Vehicle" and I have to tell you that you nailed it right on the head.
As someone who came to riding late in life 47 I related to your desciptions of the passion and the fears of riding. I had always wanted to ride but with marriage and raising my son I never seemed to have the time. But when I saw my first bike alittle Suzuki gz250 I thought it would be a good learner and I won't go to fast and become a smear on the road. well that was 3 years ago and I now have a VL800 suzuki, her name is "Lil Suki" and we are never far apart. Thankyou for your Book.

David Backstrom
Beverly, Ma

Kevin G. said...

Thank you for lending a loving voice to a cold, clinical procedure. You would have made an exceptional vet... but you were born to be a writer.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson said...

How did you know I wanted to be a vet? But couldn't hack the science. Or, more probably, couldn't hack too many more scenes like this--it is hard to watch a creature die; harder still to be the one who decides to make that creature die; and yet harder still not to make that decision, when it needs to be made. I wonder what it would be like if we were allowed to make such decisions on behalf of ourselves. It would be best, but it would also be too hard to do. So there, I guess.