Ah, grief, I should not treat you
like a homeless dog
who comes to the back door
for a crust, for a meatless bone.
I should trust you.
I should coax you
into the house and give you
your own corner,
a worn mat to lie on,
your own water dish.
You think I don't know you've been living
under my porch.
You long for your real place to be readied
before winter comes. You need
your collar and tag. You need
the right to warn off intruders,
to consider my house your own
and me your person
my own dog.
"Talking to Grief" by Denise Levertov, from Poems 1972-1982. © New Directions, 2001.
Photography credit: "The Intimacy of Dog Paw and Human Hand," by Clifford Sax (originally black and white).