I lost somebody important today -- Mackenzie. She just happened to be a guinea pig. She died of pneumonia, which may have been preventable if I'd perhaps paid some more attention to what was going on. She was not quite 2 years old. In human terms, it's like losing somebody in their twenties. She died in the vet hospital in the night. She died alone, in a place where she knew nobody, and she died in pain. Yes, I am turning into a guilt-ridden ball of teenage angst, how nice of you to notice.

I started mourning last night; they were already pretty sure she wasn't going to make in through the night, even with her on oxygen. There was, of course, the usual realization of "Oh my God, we could all die at any moment." There was also the usual musing about the nature of the afterlife. Conclusion? Even if there isn't a great hay field in the sky, I'll believe it for two reasons. One, I am confident in the power of belief to change the world, even if it is just one's own personal little myopic world; if I believe in the Great Hay Field in the Sky, maybe it does exist, and Mackenzie and all the other dead rodents that want to go there can live in a place with endless grass and clover and clear water and no predators until they want to leave. Second, and this is the really important part, it makes me feel better. Mackenzie died alone and cold and scared, and I don't want it to end that way. It's just not fair. Yeah, yeah, nothing's fair, just shut up. I makes me feel better, and I'm going to be a self-absorbed bitch now, thank you.

And let me deal with that "just a guinea pig" thing. One of the many measures of a person is how much they were loved. And Mackenzie was, and is, beloved. Friends sent her best wishes and love when writing and when saying goodbye to me. She had half-a-dozen nicknames -- MickMac, MackenziePig, the Guinea Rat, Crazy Pig, the Guinea Roach, and Sweetie -- all said with affection and care. She was named, she was known, she was cared for, and she will be missed greatly.

I could say a thousand things about how much I wished I'd been better, paid more attention, given her more love, but it doesn't matter, and she won't care. She's gone, and she can never come back to me. I can hope that her soul will be happy, in heaven, in Avalon, in another reincarnation, in whatever you wish, just as long as she's happy.

These are supposed to be the prime poetic years
Now? When I’m a white bundle of noise and libido
Now? When I cannot understand the shape of death
Now? When I am all heat and impulse, no direction
I imagine endless beautiful fields, grass forever,
Babbling brooks, excuses to go ahead, fuck him
Hump like rabbits while she is alone and dying.
Death is not clear. Dead is not the sound
Of a large stone tossed into a clear deep pool.
Dead is a rock falling into the swamp, the bog
Covered in mud and bringing the cattails with it.
It sounds like those keys you borrowed, tumbling
Through the hole in your pocket and into the muck.
Dead is thick, opaque water, silt, rot, murk.
But who am I to talk? I am young, a silly poet
Who does not know anything except the shape of life.