The Vacation

The irony is that it doesn’t empty my mind,
But fills it with stuff that I don’t want to think about.
And then I look at the string around my finger,
and I find I’m filled with worries about what I forgot.

Brewster paws at my pant leg; he’s hungry,
and so am I, but all I do for now is pet his head.
He knows something is up, as I’m packing,
but there’s no point in trying to trick him either.

I will have to find a shirt that has my smell on it,
or there’ll be no way he’ll go to the kennel.
He’s had a taste of that loneliness before,
and I’m loath to put him through it again.

I wish that going away was just easier.
It’s not like I can just shine him on.
He’s part of my pack, just as I’m his,
and no whispering lie will change that.

This is the shape of things for him and me:
Master and pet, smelly bachelors both of us.
Is it really so wrong to want to be alone
and enjoy it, when it leaves him lonely?

/ / /

This poem was written in response to Wordle 50 at The Sunday Whirl.

Brenda was kind enough to use some words that I suggested. Thanks, Brenda.

37 thoughts on “The Vacation

  1. I wondered whether you would be able to use your own picks. They are a wonderful grouping. I have said over and over in comments that I forgot the poems are from a list.

    Your poem covers an event all pet owners will recognise. The speaker as a character comes through nicely, so that the scene is easy to watch. That’s what your words have done for many people: allowed them to create a scene for us to watch.


    • Margo, thank you. I did struggle with these words. An image did not easily or quickly surface for me, so I decided to tell a story. Glad that he came through as a character.



  2. Brewster sounds like a gem. Margo’s right, I connected deeply with this piece. The older Hopper gets, the harder it is to leave him for more than a day or two…and even then… sigh. I love this piece, Richard, and I enjoyed your words this week. Thank you, again.


    • Brenda, thank you for using my words. It’s been delightful seeing the many places others have gone with them. I struggled a bit with them myself, so I’m glad you enjoyed it. It was a delightful way to begin April.



  3. Richard –

    I’m going to be having these same thoughts/feelings this week as I herd my cats into their crates to take them to my sister’s. At least there they are in one room — not cages. But I still hate leaving them.

    You captured that feeling well. The “smelly bachelor” translates just as easily to “crazy cat lady”. 😉



  4. This is a wonderful poem. I mean it could have been just mush…but you approach was so honest and up to the task. Well done.


    and taking our big as a moose puppy to the lake


  5. I empathize, Richard. Whenever I went somewhere in the past, the dogs know something is up when the suitcase is taken out. I usually have to call the kennel every day or two to see how the dogs are doing. Yes, dogs and humans in the house are part of the same pack. Well wordled, and thanks for the words! I enjoyed them.


    • Mary, thank you so much. Dogs are much smarter than we often give them credit for – and they feel too. Glad you liked the way I handled “pack”. I’m glad you liked those wordle words.



  6. I left one cat in a cattery once, and felt so guilty because she behaved like a dog when I went to pick her up, so happy and jumping around all over the place, that my dog goes with me wherever I go. He pines even if I go to an appointment or do a grocery shop without him. Sheesh, they do have a way of making us feel guilty don’t they!
    I can feel your angst throughout this.


  7. ah! hate leaving the dogs behind. We are fortunate to have found a boarder that will take all three, let them stay together and has room for them to run. Nothing can make you feel more guilty than that look while you pack.


  8. You wrote the wordle I started to write. But as I was literally in the midst of packing to leave, it was too much. My dog laid, head drooping, when my suitcases came out… I distracted her with a walk and then just took her to the kennel early. I was lonely during my whole packing process.

    You capture – exactly- the heartfelt leaving of a companion that knows …”no whispering lie will change that.”


  9. I have had my share of pets. Dogs, cats, fish, snake… now I’m turtle sitting. But now we are pet-less. We get our ‘fix’ from relatives. After my last gal passed on… well we never did replace her. And while I know some folks have to have a furred household member… we do not. That final leaving… it wasn’t a vacation at all.
    I sort of have birds… the wild ones that visit in the yard. Put me up there with ‘crazy’ as I talk to them…whistling or even with words.

    A heartfelt read. I enjoyed it very much.


  10. I haven’t had a dog in my adult life, but I did have a couple of cats for a while. I couldn’t leave Ashley alone for a day without her getting into trouble – quite literally. While I was off doing ministry work during Mardi Gras one year, she was having her own party. A few months later, we had kittens.


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