Good evening, fur like a thousand Q-tips, curl of cloud,
rubber ball enthusiast. I want to describe your eyes
as human-like, as though only human eyes have depth,
hold history, weep from thirty leagues beneath
the surface while buying gum on the corner.
When I arrive home, your tail thrashes back and forth
at the top of the stairs, you gyrate and sneeze,
almost dive down the top three steps. In the moments
you’re most excited, you also cry. It’s happening more now,
as though each new movement unzips the sky,
as though the moon itself weeps atop your off-white curls.
There is nothing for me but to lie on the ground, allow you
to burrow your head into my ribs. You lick constantly. Yes,
you are an anxious dog. Yes, we held you when you were
the size of a cantaloupe. Yes, we woke that first night,
bleary eyed, having laid a blanket into a cardboard box
where you cried for hours until Maggie took you downstairs
to let you sniff the starlit patch of dirt that we called a yard
for thirty minutes until you believed that maybe this
was home, an apartment to which we won’t return.
We’re in a new place now, with an extra bedroom for a new
person, who today is the size of a coconut, who maybe
you already smell in the 3-dimensional way that we cannot.
Maybe you think we’ve built ourselves a replacement.
But all of us will have to grow up, to grow out,
to learn anew how to be what we’ve become: four candles
shining luminous, shedding wax, until once again gone.
Jon Sands reads “A Promise”
Jon Sands is a winner of the 2018 National Poetry Series, selected for his second book, It’s Not Magic (Beacon Press, 2019), and the facilitator of the Emotional Historians workshop, a series of generative writing classes you can find out more about on IG at @iAmJonSands. His work has been featured in the New York Times, as well as anthologized in The Best American Poetry. He has received residencies and fellowships from the Blue Mountain Center, the Brooklyn Arts Council, the Council of Literary Magazines and Presses, and the Jerome Foundation. He tours extensively as a poet, but lives in Brooklyn. www.jonsands.com