Goodbye Alf


…Some day I’ll join him right there,
but now he’s gone with his shaggy coat,
his bad manners and his cold nose,
and I, the materialist, who never believed
in any promised heaven in the sky
for any human being,
I believe in a heaven I’ll never enter.
Yes, I believe in a heaven for all dogdom
where my dog waits for my arrival
waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I’ll not speak of sadness here on earth,
of having lost a companion
who was never servile.
His friendship for me, like that of a porcupine
withholding its authority,
was the friendship of a star, aloof,
with no more intimacy than was called for,
with no exaggerations:
he never climbed all over my clothes
filling me full of his hair or his mange,
he never rubbed up against my knee
like other dogs obsessed with sex..

–Pablo Neruda, A Dog Has Died


Dear Alf,

If Neruda is right…and you are in that heaven for dogdom, then there are not only sticks for mouthing but streets for you to continue crossing, looking both ways first, in that careful way that you have. Thank you for loving Phil and Jill so much, for walking them so often and so well, for the crossed paws and the philosophy, and for being their family in the sondaughterloverpartnersisterbrothermotherfather way that dogs so often are. Thank you for pushing your nose into my crotch when I visited. I know you meant well. I did too. The world is going to miss you. It already does. Phil says no other word like he says “Alfie.”



Photos by Jill Weinstein (Source at cheap Los Angeles moving companies)

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