Poem: Old Dogs

Remembering the circumstances of my brother's death from AIDS.

Old Dogs

She called tonight and caught me
with something I knew,
something we both knew
He’s dying, you know
Yeah, I know
and I suddenly wished
for a cigarette
Something I hadn’t noticed
in months

There was a tremble to her voice
and she cleared her throat
as though embarrassed by it,
eight thousand miles away
Are you coming back to see him
while you still can?
No, I paused and wondered
at the certainty
with which I said that

He wouldn’t want it
at least I don’t think so
I know I wouldn’t
and I needed to clear
my own throat
He knows I love him
and I think he’d be
making small talk

We agreed she’d test the water
run it past the guy
who lives with him
and let me know
But I already know
that some old dogs
want a quiet corner
and not too much fuss
Just to get on with it

We’re both getting to be
old dogs
This brother of mine and me
Poetry Collection: The Smell of Tweed and Tobacco
This poem is included in
Jim Freeman's
poetry collection


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