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Published: Fri Jul 1 2005
Eva Lundsager, Were now like (detail), 2021, oil on canvas

Right after he died, valium-happy
on two dozen milkbones,
eyes open, in the first moment ever
to mean nothing, the dry blue
sash of his tongue flopped
all the way out, ten or so inches
of life-lick gone
dusky. Three biscuit crumbs,
veggie, cheese, poultry, stuck
where the flick of his swallow
had stopped. But I thanked the quiet
vet who had let me help
then sent him away from the room,
so I could finally
turn off the light to hold
the cold new gift of him, and cradle
his deep chest still gleaming
with illness against my cheek.

Frannie Lindsay is a former NEA Literature Fellow. Her first book of poems, Where She Always Was, received the 2004 May Swenson Award sponsored by Utah State University Press. Her work has been twice nominated for inclusion in the Pushcart Anthology. New work is forthcoming in The Atlantic Monthly, AGNI, The Yale Review, Valparaiso Poetry Review, Apostrophe, Prairie Schooner, Harvard Review and Hunger Mountain. (updated 1/2005)

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