Elegy for Corky, My First Guide Dog

The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda wrote: “How many weeks are in a day/and how many years in a month?” I think for a moment Neruda was a dog.

Last night I dreamt of Corky. She’s long gone, but never gone. Maybe her years went by in a month. Maybe a month is forever.

In the dream Corky was pulling me back from a bus running the curb in New York. She did it in life. She does it over and over in death.

There are weeks in the days—survivals within survivals. Corky taught me over time when we live we live again twice. The unassuming person who nearly died lives and a new person is born who appreciates the fleeting abundance of his own breath. I did not know this when I first met her. I did not know there were years in a month when she entered my life.

And how am I different because I know this now? This is an artistic question. Neruda was a dog. I was a dog. I was a dog for the teeming years we had together. I saw the yellow sky of morning through a dog’s eyes. I stepped off an airplane in Albuquerque, New Mexico and smelled the prairie dogs and the local flags of destiny. You smell everything. And when you don’t you’re invited to imagine you do. How many weeks are in a day? How many imaginations are in a week?

With Corky I was never late for school.