Annie Woodford – My Arthritic Dog and I Go for One of Our Last Walks

A beautiful poem by Annie Woodford, featured in the About Place Journal. The poem portrays a final walk with an arthritic dog by a river. Like falling leaves and bugs on the water, nature’s imagery is evocative. The dog’s affinity for water draws parallels to life. Despite the pain, the dog’s love for walking endures.

My Arthritic Dog and I Go for One of Our Last Walks

The Buckeye and the Sycamore.

Leaves falling into water.

The water.

The scattering

of small black bugs on the surface of the water.

That which is light enough

to ride upon the surface.

The fish and the shadow of the fish.

The shadow.

The long eddy spinning us

back upstream,

holding us

in place

for a moment.

Her river-soaked fur.

How clean it was after, water

beaded on her back like stars.

Her easing into water

a way I could ease into it too,

the way she drank water as she waded

a way I could drink too.

The deep breath she drew,

snout deep in roots.

The earth eternally new.

As she loved to walk,

even when she couldn’t stand up on her own afterwards.

I should have gotten in front of her pain.

You have to get in front of the pain.