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Ode to Bodhi, My Saluki, in his Eleventh Year

I finger your vertebral nubs
admire the planes of
your lean, fast hips
covered by snug-fitting skin
and a desert coat, so short
I stroke your forehead knob
too prominent for showing, she said
but stately in my eyes
Your solemn gaze holds
mine—then slides away

Silky hang-down ears
chilled from sedate morning walk
you patiently wait for a ride
to Dillon Beach—leash-free
you take off, bounding, flying
spinning in the air after birds
Their dogs forgotten, people
stare open-mouthed entranced
by your elegant tear through
sand, your native home

What goes on inside
that splendid head?
Disdainful, with your nose
you try to flip the bowl
We thwarted you, built a frame
Again you leave your food
Once more my heart sinks
Breatharian, I mutter
you gotta eat to live
Oh yeah? you swagger by

Later, in time of your choosing
you eat half or lick it clean
O Saluki!
mind and heart your own
I can never claim you
tame you or make you mine
You are different but equal
conscious   present   steady
You tolerate my ministrations
then push close for a lengthy rub

—Skye Blaine

Skye Blaine writes fiction, memoir, short essays, and poetry, developing themes of aging, coming of age, disability, and most of all, the process of unlearning–the heart of the matter. In 2003, she received an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch University. Her memoir, titled Bound to Love, won first prize in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association 2005 literary contest. It also won first prize in the BAIPA (Bay Area Independent Publishers Association) contest and an IndieBRAG medallion, both in 2016. Her novel, Unleashed, came out in September, 2017. https://skyeblaine.com/

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