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Diana K. Malek

Ode to Mr. Spock

He was a member of the tribe of Wolf

And he was partly of the pure blood

Which made him moody

And sensitive to the secrets hidden in the night.

And while he seemed to yearn so earnestly

For the love of small children

Their fat sticky toes

And wet chubby cheeks yelling “doggy!”

In those utterly desperate voices (as though

They had unexpectedly alighted upon, amidst this bland Earth life

Something very important that had been left behind

In that Other life from which they’d so recently emerged)

We couldn’t always trust him

To lick tenderly with his enormous ham slice of a tongue

Trust the harvest moons of his eyes

To always contain the steadfast, avuncular understanding

Of his more domesticated brethren.

And so in public his mouth was encased

In a clamp of plastic bars.

He hated it.

He was a prisoner

And we cried for him.

When he died so unexpectedly

It was clear

Simply clear

The secrets of the night had taken him.

The tribe of Wolf had reclaimed him

Seeing his unfitness for leashes

And the bristled little gloves we put on

Trying to brush his teeth

That gleaming set of white knives tucked

Into the dark velvet box of his mouth.

We buried him in the backyard

Letting ragweed and chamomiles grow

Like a wild man’s beard over the small hump of his grave.

When I had the vision of him, he wasn’t

A dog at all but a boy

With shining hair and brilliant, sharp white teeth.

And I watched while he scrambled angrily up

A steep, scraggly hillside and then dove, relieved and compelled

Into a green pool of water so completely lit from underneath

It was as if the sun herself hibernated at the bottom.

I’m not the only one.

My aunt by marriage—who is no longer

My aunt by marriage—

Had a vision of her sheepdog after he died

In a bathroom stall at Cracker Barrel.

She came back out to my uncle and her white gravy and grits

But she was never the same.

As for me I have taken the green pool

Into the deepest recess of my heart.

It has become my true north