Peter H.Fogtdal

Eternal Spaniel

I still miss my cocker spaniel that died 
July 5th 1982 at 3.08 PM 
the day Italy beat Brazil 3-2 in the World Cup 
which just goes to show how great I am of letting go

of those golden paws resting on my arm 
infected ears flapping in the breeze
a loving tongue licking my eye 

or wherever wet tongues go 
when you’re dealing with 
the embodiment of love and biscuits 

a thirteen-year-old dog that left the world 
of tapeworms and playful flesh decades ago
but still live on inside your heart  
roaming through the forest sniffing squirrels
spitting out snails with a look of suburban disgust 
short tail cutting air into pieces  

once a puppy then a senior canine  
pissing in all the wrong places 
preferably on the expensive rug 
in front of Marc Chagall 
because the poor dog just wanted to die 
and we wouldn’t let her 

Love is such a clinging business 
love is holding on to water stations
cuddles and spaniel spit 

love is allowing your pet to sleep 
in your bed until she pushes you out
and leave you on the floor 
with a minor concussion

taking over everything
pillows armchairs bank vaults 
the whole doggone universe 
tongue out eager to please 
snoring slightly under the cover 
generously farting in all directions 
while cancer spread in her body 
and who knows what else was going on 
under that golden dome of fur 

So we took her to the vet 
and for the first time in her life
she ran into the clinic instead of hiding 
under a Saab as if she wanted to say

I’m going away in a heartbeat
just hold my paw when I cross
and I’ll never leave you 
whether you want me to or not

Peter H. Fogtdal is a Danish novelist and poet from Copenhagen who lives in Portland, Oregon.

Works in English:

The poetry collection My Crimes of Gelato and

The Tsar’s Dwarf, a historical novel.