Childhood Dogs

Piece description from the artist

Childhood Dogs
. . . after a painting by Kathleen A. Fox

when you think about your childhood dogs
it’s always morning

grownups talk and drink their coffee
you smell the trees and sea

your face, your arms, your fingers, your whole
little squiggly body presses on your dog’s warm fur

your dog never minds, not even when
you pretend he is a princess or a horse

this is where you learn unconditional love
this is where you learn to speak without words

this is where you feel safe, also where you feel
you can conquer the whole world before lunch

if you were Hawaiian, your dog or ilio would be
your aumakua: family god – personal guardian

and spiritual advisor, who may visit you in dreams
you will always remember your dogs’ names

they say dogs bond with us like babies in a loop
of love and oxytocin, eyes first then melting hearts

the pope says we will meet our pets in heaven, if
we make it there also, which is no surprise to you

imagine all your childhood dogs suddenly appearing
in a pack over a white rise, tongues wagging, eyes joy

racing to you, jumping up, knocking you down, dog kiss city –
mass reunion, years and distance smashed like a dropped glass

this would not work as well with all your former cats, or lovers
childhood dogs taught you nobility, courage, class

sometimes at night you recite their names over and over
like beads on a rosary, or meditation beads, counting on them

Sherry Barker Abaldo

Other works by Kathleen Fox

About Kathleen Fox

Port Clyde, ME

Kathleen A. Fox PhD lives and paints primarily in and around Tenants Harbor and Port Clyde, Maine. Her whimsical style beautifully captures the freedom and quirkiness of Maine.
Fox studied art and journalism at Cornell University and received a PhD in Social Welfare at the Rockefeller College, SUNY Albany, in 1996. A life-long artist, she has won numerous awards for her watercolors, including the Utrecht Award at the New England Watercolor Society Bi-Annual International Show in Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Each year since 2007, Fox has created the Coastal Maine Calendar, which documents working lobster boats, their captains and port-of-call. She has also written and illustrated four award-winning children’s books.
Her paintings were most recently shown at the Archipelago Gallery of the Island Institute in Rockland, the Boothbay Regional Art Foundation in Boothbay Harbor, and the Roux-Cyr Gallery in Portland, Maine.
Fox maintains a studio on Blackberry Hill Road, Tenants Harbor and in Port Clyde, Maine.

See Kathleen's portfolio here

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