The antique Iraqi rug likely never knew a family dog
before ours. When I vacuum it after he leaves
for a weekend with my son, it is usually with a sense
of a few days’ relief from hair everywhere. On Sundays
when he returns, I don’t care that God’s woven trails
of geometric red and indigo turn dusty mauve
and grey with down. That is the way with dog hair.
You bear it. But today, when my son packed bags
to live with his dad two hours away and took
with him only a few of the things I gave to give him
small reasons to raise his head, I almost understood.
A mother’s love isn’t all. Her wisdom is at best, for now,
a suffered fluff. Teenage boys want only a bit of it
and something more: the clutter and berth of freedom
fathers sagely give to man-sized sons. I vacuumed
the rug what felt a final time. I did it sobbing,
drooling, with a knotted grudge. A hunch. My son
will forge his own mind. The dog will not get walked
enough; we both will fatten up. If I had had the time
and foresight to spin, I’d have saved and combed
and spun the past year’s every tuft of liver-spotted fur
to knot a musky blanket of the love that dog
has learned nuzzling my son. I’d sleep under it.


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