Part of the Family by P M F Johnson

In our shadowed bedroom

a small weight leans against me,

surprises me awake. The dog’s sigh

echoes my wife, both

restless in their dreams.

She lifts him onto our bed

when tom-toms of thunder

drive nightmares up the horizon,

or on the first thankful night

we return home from a trip.

This satisfies his need

to be tails together,

heads compassed out to face

our different fears.

I would not ascribe to him

human intent, but at the hour

for our daily walk,

or when I agree (at last)

to toss the ball,

he expresses that family joy,

arching in expectation,

wiggling from the waist aft—

embarrassingly enthusiastic—

essential canine whom we

wrap our arms around

to buoy us through this waking dark.

P M F Johnson
P M F Johnson’s poems appear in The Threepenny Review, The Evansville Review, Nimrod International Journal, North American Review, and others. His ebook of love poems, Against The Night, is available on Amazon and elsewhere. He lives in Minnesota with his wife, the writer Sandra Rector. He can be found on his website.
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