A Bouquet of Ephemerals


On your first day among us,

you ate my Barbie doll. I cried

when I saw the pink leg

sticking out of your mouth,

without knowing it would only be

a few years until I buried

that one-legged doll with you.


Born a Saint Bernard you felt

at home among our garden blooms.

I showed you how to smell them,

you taught me to savour their petals.

Three summers we spent

scouring the tall grass

for palatal excitement.


Mint flowers tasted minty,

red roses like strawberries,

lavender like mummy’s soap,

chives like onion soup.

Dandelion buds so sweet,

their corolla so bitter,

like love-me, love-me-nots.


The spring of your fading,

every morning I offered you

my fingers dipped in honey.

Too sick for dog food, yet never tired

of the garden’s bounty, you had

a daily fancy for white clover heads.

On your last day you found


a four-leaf clover among poppies.

I rewarded you with forget-me-nots,

which you chewed dutifully,

while watching the clover

wither away in my child’s hand,

and sniffing the ephemeral

bitter-sweet scent of pleasure.


(Sabine Huynh, published in Dogs Singing – anthology)

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