shorn lambs

It’s taken years to teach him to trust

But today

Charlie balances precariously on my knees

While I sheer his long winter coat

With noisy electric sheep clippers

He’s a bit too large for a lap dog

His legs shake and skin crawls

As I ease away the shaggy fur

I check his split lower lip where he fell against

The stone steps yesterday

In a rush to greet me.

His blinking winces,

 tells me how much it still hurts.

I massage along twisted aching vertebrae

Where he was hit by a car two years


I shave it close, to the skin

Because he’s suffering with the absurdly hot

March weather

And pink patches of bare

Show through.

I add aloe and sunscreen to his tender skin

Already bright red from blaze of spring.

My fingers crave long silky ruff

At the nape of his neck

That drains away the pain of early


When I bury my fingertips.

He stops trembling long enough to

check my throbbing thumbnail,

hit with a hammer

then, my forehead where I raised up too fast

And snapped against solid birch kitchen cabinets.

He licks my salty face

Surprised by the taste

He stares at me with an odd grimace.

Tastes my cheeks again.

 He leans hard against my rib cage.

Resting his sun-warmed face along my neck

And sighs deeply.



  1. cute story. Now it will probably snow and he will be cold. It is time for a haircut for me as Dad just had a hair cut this morning. Mom

    1. Yup. It’s cool and stormy here. He has to wear his coat now which embarrasses him more than the haircut. Does dad only get one haircut a year too?

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