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  • Kelly J Massey

An Ode to Babelicious

He paced the lobby

of the veterinary hospital.

A walk he seemed to have taken

several times before.

Though in younger years

probably much steadier.

Every approach of a tech,

every approach of a receptionist,

he would look expectantly

for any news of his loved one.

His face radiated hope,

his posture—anxiety.

Finally, the gentle old soul sat next to me.

“Your cat okay?” he asked,

gesturing to the carrier on my lap.

Genuinely concerned, but

genuinely trying to keep his mind

occupied. Don’t we all wish for that?


And he nodded as though he understood.

Not allergies, but the concern for

a member of the family who doesn’t feel well.

He walked this path before,

perhaps several times.

He twisted the aged wedding band

now worn on his right hand.

She had gone,

and any kids they might have had,


Only his faithful pet to share his time.

“Jerry?” a tech called,

and the gentle old soul took to his feet.

“Is she all right?” he asked, the anxiety

trembling in his voice.

This was a question that hadn’t returned

a wanted response before.

“She’s just fine, but we did have to take

fourteen teeth.”

“Fourteen?! Does she have any left?”

“Two. Here are her pain medications,

I’ll go get her.”

He wringed his hands now, a smile on his face.

Out trotted a grizzled old pug

on a neon pink leash.

“Come on, Babelicious,

let’s get a milkshake.”

An activity he’d practiced

with all his loved ones before.

He waved as he departed,

to the techs, to the receptionists,

to everyone in the lobby,

but to me he said,

“Good luck with your cat.”

“You too,” you gentle sir.

#poetry #dogs

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