In Life I Was of Modest Size,
in Death I am the Garden

by Norita Dittberner-Jax


I had nerves all my life, only one

pup, she was pretty,

but I liked the couple better.


No sitting on top of the sofa,

but I did when they left.

Every car that passed,

I looked, hoping.


I had a red leather leash;

she walked me on

Grand Avenue where people stopped

to admire my spots.


She said I was the color of winter.

I liked that, but she wasn't

patient. Even if I was afraid

of other dogs, we were kin.

I wanted to smell—

she wanted exercise.


He took me to the country

where I could chase wild turkeys,

but I heard him say I was racist

because I barked at black people.


I meant no harm and would have

let them pet me

if I saw them more often.


The last years she put a sheet

over the sofa and I watched for them

on 100 % cotton.


I died at home.

A woman came and held me

with such tenderness

that I never saw the needle.


They buried me in the backyard

where fern and hosta thrive.