Devil in the Morning

She stirs and wakes.
Steps unsteadily up my prone body,
calves to neck, on
stiletto paws that press dents
into my protesting flesh.
“Wake up!”
Her muzzle burrows deep into
my eye sockets,
I squeeze my eyelids tight; it’s
futile, hiding.
Still, I twist my head away and
pull the covers over.
“Get up!”
I roll her off my chest
as I do every morning,
She knows the complicated steps,
dodges away and shouts,
Nose drives in,
snuffling through the blankets
for skin, she
furiously starts to lick,
raising the dead, or bringing life
as if I were her puppy.
My hand pushes, blind helpless
against her but she flops, unresisting.
I ruffle her fur, circle the edges of a
soft tumour on her belly
she’s lived with for years
defying dire prognoses.
I pray she’ll let me sleep;
I know she won’t.
For years
she’s practiced this dance,
and patiently taught me the steps
She snorts and roots again through the quilt.
Giving up, I throw it off,
my feet find the floor
to where she already stands,
grinning, gap toothed,
paddling from side to side,
her mutilated butt, wriggling,
her fogged up eyes, sparkling
she smiles,
“Good morning!”

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