All Is Well
I once heard an interview with uber-director, Martin Scorsese, in which he recalled a childhood event that I found completely disturbing. Although he told this story with a good-natured bemusement, I couldn’t help but think his clement attitude was hard won through years of therapy, for it seems one day when he was little his mother told him they were going to the circus when, in actuality, she took him to the hospital where she dropped him off to have his tonsils removed. She had the cheek to actually describe him as “a bit peeved” when she came to collect him the next day. Well, I guess he was.
Strange how I can’t get Mrs. Scorsese out of my head on this early morning, the first day of school. I follow the buses - a interminable line of fat yellow bumblebees transporting shiny new students to the halls of learning. On the seat beside me, a big white furry dog, thrilled to bits at this unusual cockcrow jaunt. I know, as he sadly does not, that our destination is not the park nor the garden - not the library, nor the cafe with the cool porch under the dogwood trees. No, we are on our way to the vets, an appointment made necessary by a slab fracture of Edward’s back tooth. He was stoic as ever, but I could tell something was bothering him a few days ago and, on inspection of that polar bear mouth, I found the wicked looking culprit. So, here we go to surgery - one more car in the coil of traffic that makes up the morning rush hour. Except I have no desire to rush.
Finally at the surgery, the attendant comes to get him and Edward trots back, ever smiling, and I think once again of little Marty Scorsese. I am left alone in the waiting room. I try not to worry. I try to write, but can’t concentrate. I try to knit, but drop stitches. I might as well be knitting with my toes. I do the crossword. I scan the paper. I call The Songwriter, home with a dejected Apple, both of them anxious for an update. Thoughtful as always, the vet sends assistants out to me every thirty minutes with progress reports.
“We’re starting now. It should take about an hour.”
“He’s doing fine, but it was a nasty tooth.”
“We’re removing the anesthesia now, he’ll sleep for a few hours. You go get something to eat”.
He’s awake by three. The vet brings him to the front and Edward, feeling the aftereffects of morphine and valium, cuts the corner too wide with a goofy grin on his face. I help him into the car, he sleeps the way home and, once there, continues his nap in a chair by the window. I sit across from him, relieved that he’s better, happy that he’s home..
And it’s chicken and scrambled eggs for dinner.
All is well.
One of the best dog poems ever.
What The Dog Perhaps Hears
by Lisel Mueller
If an inaudible whistle
blown between our lips
can send him home to us,
then silence is perhaps
the sound of spiders breathing
and roots mining the earth;
it may be asparagus heaving,
headfirst, into the light
and the long brown sound
of cracked cups, when it happens.
We would like to ask the dog
if there is a continuous whir
because the child in the house
keeps growing, if the snake
really stretches full length
without a click and the sun
breaks through clouds without
a decibel of effort,
whether in autumn, when the trees
dry up their wells, there isn't a shudder
too high for us to hear.
What is it like up there
above the shut-off level
of our simple ears?
For us there was no birth cry,
the newborn bird is suddenly here,
the egg broken, the nest alive,
and we heard nothing when the world changed.