selfless girl, never in a hurry

you’ve stepped the thousand cracks of sidewalks with me

sweet, wordless friend you’ve walked the squares of our neighborhood streets

miles of trails and beachfront with eager vigor and sparky zest

but now your gait is wobbly and slow

for the first time i find myself waiting for you

your approach up the hill is at a sideways angle

a technique i realize that makes it easier on your aching knees

this is the time now, i tell myself, after the countless hours you’ve waited for me

been patient with me

to give to you

now i need to wait for you

give you the magic drop moment of the cosmic sniff

the extended pause at the bush or tree

i turn around realizing i’ve walked ahead again

why am i always in a hurry?

wait, i tell myself.

but it’s time for dinner and the cable man is coming soon

i still have some work left to do tonight and busyness is beckoning

i call you along, aware of breaking my promise

you waggle your way toward me in a modified hop walk

and i try to drop the guilt behind me

on our porch steps you struggle up, do i hear a groan?

but your wag is happy and it’s dinnertime for you too

your composure may be stiff but your eyes are excited and alert as you gobble your dinner

if i cut your walk short

you don’t seem to recall

you’ve no blame to shift onto my shrunken heart, chided with self reproach

but i know what’s coming, the signs are showing themselves. and i’ve been down this road before

i comfort myself by saying it’s a long time away

and that i’ll promise to give you more time

be more selfless like you

and learn from you to try not to always be

in such a hurry

dinah flowerchild

Dinah with haku-lei.
Photo courtesy of Alane Weber