A Fierce Thing

Hear that?

Such sweetness and sound
threads itself through the live oaks.
River hymns of light
speckling and staining the stones
like Sunday glass.

Some spirit lingers here.

Say it is true that home is any place
a good dog is waiting.
Or dogs.
(The more the better. Don’t you think?)

For unscratched floors and doors,
can’t compare
to reckless joy,
honeysoft fur,
and devotion unreserved.

Suppose we all gave ourselves over
to such canine devotion.
Deciding family
was the people we chose to love
as if nothing else mattered.
(Because it doesn’t.)

Then we are never really gone,
are we?

Even in that moment
when spirit splits from bone—
some animal part of our soul must still echo,
laughing like creekwater
as we leap from cliff and stone,
the bones of our wingtips vibrating
in perfect harmony
with sage and cypress
the great eternal hum
of this
hill country.

So, grieve, if you must.
(And you must.)
But then laugh,
For we are creatures meant for joy!
And joy deferred is
life unlived.

scatter my memory where it will linger like stardust,
a dry glitter that never quite settles,
never stops catching light.
Breath me in
when a baby laughs.
Breath me out
when sunrise sets your room ablaze with color.

Know that
I am with you.
Scratching at your door;
singing in your kitchen;
buzzing in your garden.

A fierce thing
is love.

—Lauren Kukla