Fifty years later.
The preceding post, Uncle Dog, was 1957. Now, it is not a child, but an animal who speaks, a Catahoula Leopard Dog (rare breed), known to be very intelligent, independent, territorial.
The father has died and the young man mourns. And it is "Dog" who, having accompanied his master to the "other side," eases the son's grief.
Dogs and people who can't be without them occupy a particular portion of heaven.
DOG, WITH FATHER, AT THEIR EASE IN HEAVEN
“BOW WOW, BOW WOW. You know what heaven is?
Dogs, dogs and people,
dogs, everywhere, dogs—and people
who can’t be without them.
“Listen to me. You put a dog in this place
and you think he’s gonna stop being a dog?
Or people? The dead don’t change.
Whatever they were in life, they are now.
Look at your father over there, smoking;
you think because a person’s dead, he’s done?
Done? Done what?
“And God? Sonny, He’s not going to help you.
“Anyway, everything oscillates
between is and is not.
On, off. On, off.
Yes, no. Yes, no.
Aristotle said it.
and there’s howling necessity.
There’s the way things are
and the way they really are.
“So, the dead don’t want to hear you carrying on.
Mourn, if you want to, but mourn with your mouth shut.
The dead don’t want to hear it.
Forgive the dead for their mortality.
Forgive your father, Sonny, forgive him
for being dead.”
From God is in the Cracks, Black Moss Press, 2006.
Photo of Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog by Lynn Lundstrum Swanger.