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Poet of the Week

Slim by Janet English Schulz

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Posted: Friday, October 23, 2009 12:00 am

Back then, we had a greyhound dog; we had him long before our child.

Kind "Slim," though sometimes acting wild while running in the wind.

The bear scent scared him while we camped; we laughed, "Climb in our sleeping bag, scared Slim," (though you're not very wild where unknown mountain darkness reigns.)

Pierce the breeze when running by our car.

We had him just before our child; flying Slim, down Lodi vineyards rows, escaped again … flying in the wind.

Our babe was born; we turned Slim out!

We were so very wrong!

Gentle Slim, who also loved our child; still running in the wind.

The postman, burglar, and our babe he loved; he watched her, oh, so carefully!

Guardian Slim, though sometimes acting wild while running in the wind.

One day we went down to the cleaning shop.

Open car window left in harried haste …

"Stay put! Please, Slim, stop!

Don't come running from the alleyway!"

The accident: Proud long leg just hanging there …

The vet said simply, "It must go."

Wounded slim, only dreams of acting wild when running in the wind.

Slim learned to hop. "A kangaroo!" they falsely said.

Growing old, he turned so mild …

Sweet hopping Slim, seldom acting wild.

Just dreams of running in the wind.

Years passed … sad day: "Ole Slim could rise no more.

Two days postponed: The number dialed.

Dying Slim, we've only memories of your happiness while running in the wind.

(Around the block; around again, and then around again.

How hard to take my finest friend … to Death!)

The vet came out; he called me in.

"It's for the best," he said.

He couldn't know . . . how could he know?

That as I trailed an empty leash across the floor, my mind's eye saw a Young Slim carrying parts of my heart into the wind.

About the author

Years ago, after taking several college classes in creative writing, I signed up for a San Joaquin Delta College night class to be taught by Gwin Paden. She announced we would learn poetry. "Oh! Woe is me!" I thought. I majored in journalism at Texas Christian University, and dearly loved to write, but could never write poetry.

For my class, after failed attempts, I decided to try to write the required poem about a dog my husband and I had as newlyweds in Lodi. Our dog was gentle, kind, loving, graceful, but a thief of Hershey Kisses from the candy dish (foil and all). He was sweeter than an angel … he was a greyhound.

My grade wasn't that great; and when I sent it in to a magazine, I received a rejection slips. A few months later, I was shocked to hear a song called "Runnin' with the Wind" on the radio, and those words repeated after each stanza (just like mine). In fact, I was in my late 20s when I wrote the poem and accidentally heard that recording again and again, including just a few weeks ago.

Calling all poets! Do you want to share your poetry with the readers of Lodi Living? If so, send your poem, along with a short autobiography and picture of yourself to laurenn@lodinews.com.

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