Monday, July 12, 2021

A dog's dementia eyes


12 July 2021

At the top of the circle at the back of the cemetery, flush up against the Ko`olau, two young women pose for photographs. One stands in their black rented jeep, head and torso thrust through the sun roof, arm ending in a shaka. A young man who’d just taken a photo of his own shadow, stops to take them together. His father, walking a thin light dog farther downhill, talks on the phone about a film being made about Kalaupapa, “the leper colony.” Harry walked in circles last night in Anne’s living room, not as tightly coiled since he got Dramamine. His body began to quiver, tail pushed between his legs, ears falling to the sides like a Papillon’s. Tottering a bit, he paced to the end of the hallway and back; “lights on but nobody there,” said Sangha later. We sat around the room, our eyes directed toward the dog at the center, his dementia eyes. There was a light circle in the young man’s shadow. The poet who takes photos of shadows must recognize the necessity of light, even as he calls his work a study of shadows. Tell them their stories are their own, my friend says, that they don’t have to take on the others. There are moments of rest in the illness; you grow accustomed to its circles, frayed at the brush’s end where time bleeds like a leaky water bottle. Look at the splashes of light, the way shadows deepen the light, render it like an eye open to brick or sidewalk or construction shed. A yellow helmet sits on top of a rusty refrigerator. A sun-dimmed sign includes the word “safety." Nearby, a blue plastic cover has the word HOPE on it, even if it’s HDPE. I can’t tell, so I choose the first, pencilling in my small circle, looking for white spaces where no questions or answers are. Bryant hopes Harry quickly gets better, or worse.

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