An Ode To Baxter, Who Speaks Via Death’s Megaphone

Darth Baxter

This is dedicated to my roommate’s yellow lab, Baxter aka Baxter Blue (for his eternally sad facial expression) aka Darth Baxter (for his heavy panting). He’s almost 14. He sounds every bit of it too, I am sad to report. He can’t catch his breath and he can’t catch a break. Father Time is a bastard. I think Baxter would agree with me if he could read.

On this stale summer night, he screams, “I’m alive! I’m alive! I’m alive!”
Yet, every labored breath hits me like a voice magnified by death’s megaphone
Meet Baxter: Weathered blonde coat, tired, arthritic bones, oh shy soul
It’s not easy but I translate his moans: “This is my retirement home!”
His sunken rib cage heaves in and out, like a toothpaste tube squeezed dry
If only he could sit still … see: how he ripped apart the garbage tonight
I cleaned the kitchen floor of ears of corn, chewed cardboard, and torn bank receipts
While he plopped down on the living room floor, watching from the cheap seats
Now he’s staring down at the hardwood, his sad moon eyes wondering how it will end
He soundtracks the living room with death whimpers and vomit cries
“Look,” I tell him, “I’ve already cleaned up after you one time.”
This is the life, 98 years old and almost down to his last whine
It’s only a matter of seconds before he moves to the front of Heaven’s line
Hollywood taught me that Baxter has nothing to fear … in the afterlife
He will get to Heaven once his doggy emphysema strangles his windpipe
Until then, onward sound the pained chants of “I’m alive! I’m alive! I’m alive!”

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