Morning at the End of the Lost Year

Morning at the end
of the lost year I tuck my legs
under my dog’s body and

he snores onto my thigh
drooling the way my children
did when they slept between

my neck and shoulder, relaxed
into rest enough that their bodies
felt like breath rather than complex

arrangements of organs, blood, bone,
brain cells adapting and learning with growth
being its own kind of loss and now

with my dog I listen to his breath
which is anything but graceful as outside
someone is trying to kill the deer

grazing on old pears slumped under
their tree. The shots punctuate the new cold
light and we beasts inside feel

safe despite the gunshots and the geese
arrowing from field to sky, gentle as anything.
I hold my dog’s face and his loose jowls

and understand: all safety is temporary—
all breath is grace.