Top of the morning to you, little pug.
Your squished-in face looks especially
wrinkly this morning and your eyes,
which light your whole face,
are more reflective and condescending
I’ve heard about little dogs like you—
“little nippy bitches” I used to say—
but you’re no stereotype.
You don’t serve the latest fad
of the loudest celebrity,
nor do you devote your day
to the lap of an old lady.
You do not serve on the Chinese Royal Court
and you will probably never be buried next to
any former first ladies.
You’re more the type to stand guard
outside the door of my guestroom each morning,
ready to escort me, the unsupervised visitor,
to the bathroom, to the kitchen, to the living room, and all the way to the front gate—
Just to ensure that I leave you in peace.
Don’t think I haven’t noticed all the little dogbeds
you have arranged around the house
so you can wait,
in stately comfort,
for me to move on.
Your patience is admirable,
but you must remember that you
are but a flash—a bark—
in a long line of succession
stretching back millennia.
Any day now, our assignments
will come to an end
and unburdened, we will be buried in
the soft, enveloping earth.