My Dog

I know it’s ridiculous
to think my dead husband is living inside my dog,
but he is.
I glimpse him when he glances at me from the side
with familiar, glinting eyes,from within his velvet-ears- and-shaggy-ruff disguise.

(Shush now, good dog, settle down.)

I knew before they turned the machines
that you had left that bled-out body and were
hovering, just beneath the strip-light.

I cried when the wise woman said, “He’s here,
he’s saying, ‘It’s alright.’ ”
A shock,
but why should I assume you were tucked up nicely,
silently, in front of your headstone, all tidy?
That was never your style.

We had some good times, though, didn’t we?
Didn’t we?
You were hefty and brawny
and pushing your blonde floppy fringe back with Rizlas and
Zippo in hand.
You were jeans and steel toe caps and brown leather jacket,
stirring and simmering chillies and spices,
friends in low places
and friends in high places;
tab at the races and tab at The Crown.
You were, “keep smiling,”
and punning and grinning and rubbing your firm hands
together with glee.
Not one young woman in tears, in black
at your freshly-dug grave,
but three.

Sometimes you staggered,
“Tripped over a daisy,” you sniggered.
A fool buying two half bottles of Bells.
“I’ll be dead before I’m thirty,” you wagered:
were you a prophet, or were you a clown?
(Shush now, good dog, settle down.)

I know it’s ridiculous,
but I never knew whether you loved me.
Here boy,
sit next to me quietly,
shush now, good dog, settle down.

Louisa Campbell is a product of a weird
religious upbringing, happily married
(third time around) mother of two children,
who hangs around English spa towns.
An autoimmune illness stopped her
working as a psychiatric nurse, so she now
aims to nurse mental health with poetry.
She began writing poetry in 2016 and has
been longlisted for the Bridport Prize, as
well as published in a number of e-zines.