Veronica Patterson

One Rainy Spring Night

—an ode and elegy for Ralph Beauregard Bugleboy, childhood collie


Puppy who came with our youngest brother, baby and dog tugging and chewing on two ends of a stick. Full grown farm collie with selective hearing, who only came when he felt called. Who, when we lived in town, found each of us wherever we were—in school, on campus. Who came home from fields on the edge of town muddy, his coat matted with burs or ripe with skunk, his nose a bouquet of porcupine quills. Did he not love the world as much as he loved us? One rainy night he came home in a taxi at 1:00 a.m.; my sister witnessed it from her window. The taxi turned into the driveway on Hudson Place, the driver emerged and then let Ralph out of the backseat. O, Ralph, who won an obedience class for being the only dog who didn’t run from his “stay” when a dogfight erupted he knew wasn’t his. Ralph, you were the poet among us, fearless in the world, band leader on our Titanic, long-eared Buddha who knew when to listen. Where is the fierce yellow taxi that will bring you back?



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