Ode to Silverback (1, 2 & 3)

Ode to Silverback


She came shaking wet,
having fallen between boat and dock
and resisted the blanket –
Would not lay in the sun
because she loves the cool thick of it,
ears slicked back, nose forward.

Three life jackets buckled as one
form a silvercraft on open water.
She stands there, tense and staring
through the surface into the lake,
waiting for a flash of scale.

And later, after my father baits the hook,
I reel in a few fishes.
She yips and jumps, all stomach,
while Stormfellow waits patiently on the beach.


She’s growing a skin tag.
I’ve watched it swell and change.
It’s bright pink now,
looking like a tiny balloon.
Silverback is the life of the party.


Named by the wind and trees
as two-toned, four-pawed and silverhearted,
she bounds and dances like spring in the leaves:
           Each breath, rises and falls like a season

Eternal puppy, she is all of us.
She is all of us when she sniffs the grass.
She is all of us when she gives chase to a squirrel.
She is all of us when her mouth hangs open to whatever
might happen next.

Somedays, I stare into her dark eyes
and I imagine that she hears my thoughts,
and then she yawns
or just stares back at me, insouciant
because I shouldn’t be thinking about thoughts
when there are fish in the lake
and treats in the pantry
and mailboxes lining the street.

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