italicized excerpts from A Dog Has Died, by Pablo Neruda (translated by Alfred Yankauer)
selected quotes from Neil deGrasse Tyson on being in the Superman comic

My dog has died.

I buried him in the garden

next to a rusted old machine.

My husband and I measured our property with an ancient tape measure
of his long dead father's, using simple math and laughter,
amidst the overgrown lilacs and prickly holly that someone else planted.
I wrote the numbers down, in pencil, on a jagged piece of paper.

"Knowing that this year would be different from the others."

Some day I'll join him,

but now he's gone with his shaggy coat,

his bad manners and his cold nose,

The neurologist called to say it might be Lyme Disease,
undiagnosed, long term. Western Blot results in two days.

and I, who never believed,

in any promised heaven in the sky

for any human being,

For perhaps the first time, I have asked God to be gentle
with this borrowed atheist of mine, his soul was never mine to save.

"He's looking for a glimpse of home.
The least I could do was help the man find his home star."

I believe in a heaven for all

where my dog waits for my arrival

waving his fan-like tail in friendship.

Ai, I'll not speak of sadness here on earth...

"Here's something that he knew already happened,
but to see it, takes it into another emotional realm.
It's a rather solemn story."

Ai, how many times have I envied his tail

as we walked together on the shores of the sea...

where the wintering birds filled the sky...

My husband, in a moment of clarity,
declares with uncharacteristic optimism,
Lyme disease would be better than lung cancer.
I tell him I'm glad he's looking at the glass half full,
instead of half empty.

my wandering dog, sniffing away

with his golden tail held high,

face to face with the ocean's spray.

I blame myself for not seeing the changes in him
while making arrangements for fences to be fixed, the roof repaired.
I talk with the neighbors about taking down a tree. They are pleased.

Joyful, joyful, joyful,

as only dogs know how to be happy

with only the autonomy

of their shameless spirit.

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