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Elegy for Nicole
.....Gone. .....Gone. .....Gone. .....Gone. .....Gone.

The sobbing does not stop...not stop, nor bring
To life again the silent creature there
Upon the bed, a towel placed beneath
In which to take her to her final rest
Upon the steely slab and in the box
Of bronze upon a nearby teakwood shelf.

We cry and hold each other close, as held
Her we in turn last night. Somehow we knew
She had no extra week, that we must say
“Goodbye, sweet child. Forgive us that we lacked
The patience that we should have had with you
At times when you were only what you were.”

We held her close last night, while she---content
To rest upon our chests, not knowing why
She could not breathe yet feel such pain in lungs
And heart so ravaged by a growth there was
No way to stop in time to save her life---
Lay close but could not turn to kiss our cheeks.

“Goodbye, sweet child, and thank you for the joy
You brought---the love, companionship, and trust---
Your soft grey form a constant presence in
Our lives, your eyes so dark and deep we could
Not fathom what you thought; but think you did,
And tell us of your love.” Let no one doubt.

Her bed is empty now, her chain now hangs
No longer on the door, but in a box
Together with her sweater and her bone.
These things that we can touch we cannot throw
Away, nor place them here and there to fill
The places where she lay so near to us.

“Nicole, we grieve for you---so innocent,
So pure. You wanted only to be loved
And give your love to us in certain ways
That dogs can feel but we cannot, to be
With us, a child who’s always two---almost.
We cannot say goodbye.” We cry, and cry.

“You’re gone, and yet you’re not. We look, and there
You are beside the chair, upon our laps,
Or waiting with that look that says ‘It’s time
For you to feed me now and walk with me,
To smell the grass beneath the moon as I
Explore my universe once more with you.’ ”

So small and pearly grey, yet had to have
That one last bark she did, to let us know
She knew her role, as well as where to lie
Upon the hearth and in our hearts. In time
Our grief will pass perhaps, as grief is wont
To do, but we will never be the same.

Goodbye, Nicole. Sweet child, Nicole, goodbye.

October 9, 1988 (7:00 a.m.) November 16, 1997
© 2013 - Langston Snodgrass - May 19
Nicole of Foxchase Longchamps was a Miniature Schnauzer of
extraordinary intelligence and emotional capacity who died
of lung cancer and whose loss is still mourned.