A good dog will give you twelve year’s
obedience before breaking your heart.

I have not found the heart to replace
my good dog. It’s been almost five years.

This is part avoidance, but part enjoying
not owning a dog. This poem isn’t sad.

Most people I know seem to wait a year
before a new dog. People with cats less.

I have cats now. When my oldest cat dies,
I’ll wait three months out of respect and

then probably try to find one that’s nicer.
Don’t fret: she has tried to find someone

better many times, but apparently prefers
the brand of kibble I supply, the warm lap.

We have an understanding. When my car
died, I drove another one off a lot that night.

A car is not a dog even though it obeys,
nor is it a cat even though it’s workings

are mysterious to me. What I’m saying is
there’s a necessary waiting period before

it’s appropriate to replace something alive.
This goes for people, too. There is a period.

What I’m really saying is that I was in no
mood today, the day after graduation,

to sit in department meetings to plan next
year’s assessments, hours after the last

tossed mortar board hit the floor, hours
after the best parties had just ended.