Bathing a Samoyed
My son is bouncing on his bed, because
it is new bought, because
he does not want to bathe, because
he wants to show me he is not the dog
that passed away St. Patty’s night five years ago.
His voices for penitence, anger, revolt
surrender to ghosts that never expunge
the wars and disasters from cable news.
I remember Samoyeds squirm constantly
but most dogs accept the bath as part
of the normal cycle of canine life.
I’ve coerced him into the tub.
The instructions also advise to drag.
Dog living. My boy slips under the suds,
his hair like the bygone sailor’s,
guileless siren to himself.
When eyes sting he’ll let me know
while I remember walking him, the lift
of the leg and daydreams through magnolias
to the insight that it was that moment
we’d spend our late years aping. I was
doomed to early death the night he dropped
to the pavement, licked his cancerous paw
and sighed, remembering then to ask myself
Am I watching him die?, my son
rolling on the carpet now. Playing with blocks
and trucks is so much harder than you think
once the rest is long behind you, once
compared to tasks with clear-cut steps.
When the fur feels free of soap, remove
your samoyed. He will probably jump out gladly.
My son is bouncing in front of clouds
of deadly steam from containment walls
and revolutionists leaking blood.
Samoyeds readily show disdain.
I am silent. It is 3 p. m. and I want to sleep
through his first dog and the rest of his youth.
He lays his head on my chest and asks,
kicking me in a stretch for the remote,Daddy, now can we watch my show?