Pirate, the Island Dog

Byron

Pirate is everyone’s, yet he is no one’s. Vacationers arrive, discover him, and dote on him for two weeks, then disappear. He is their holiday project – a story they’ll tell over dinner at home. On those soft, warm-winded Caribbean nights, some allow him in, to sleep at the foot of their beds, to guard their front door. In passing, some even toy with the idea of a rescue. Could we? Should we? Shots? Papers? Questions asked with the exuberance of the relaxed and the happy, but as the time to leave draws near, reality encroaches, the idea stalls.

There is an eternal sadness in Pirate’s eyes that comes from continual loss. People come and offer love, then go away, leaving him vainly searching for those he has loved so loyally in return. Yet his heart is enormous, and mixed in with his grief is boundless hope that the next one will be the one. He sits beneath the warm sun when the ships come in, panting in anticipation of the people off-boarding into his life. He lives in the moment, and the moment is glorious when the kids swarm to him, petting, cooing, and hugging. In that moment, he finally belongs…if only for a moment.

Every couple of weeks, Pirate sadly watches his loved ones depart, on the same ship that delivered them into his heart in the first place. A new band always takes their place, and he is robbed of his grieving as he prepares for the newcomers. This island dog waits, knowing it will take only one; one, to give him a name that won’t change, one, to call it out in the dark should he wander too far. One to call to him and him alone: Come home!

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The Lantern

Lantern

Do you see that lantern on the mantle?
Its light has shined on three generations of this family
My grandfather learned to read under the tutelage of its glow
Wrote love letters to my grandmother in verse reflecting
The warmth gathered from its flickering beam

My mother found her way home through lost woods
To the arms of my Da, and on the night I was conceived
It lent its sexuality

Bright and slightly hesitant, still it burns, weaving moonbeams
Like silver threads through the tapestry of our lives
Illuminating through the years, it has lit my tears and
Calmed my fears; beneath its flame we all found ways to heal
To bind up old wounds; to celebrate new beginnings, while keeping
Vigil as loved ones passed away

One day I’ll pass it down to my children now crawling on the ground
And in its light they’ll learn to see within themselves, beyond themselves
I take it down and light it whenever I am consumed by darkness; it watches
Over me and comforts me; reminds me that there are so many ways
To become illuminated