Two years on,

I’m sitting in my office three and a half thousand miles from where Gilgamesh and I lived in perfect harmony for twelve years. I’m weeping a bit, because I’m eating angel food cake a student baked for me without measuring cups. It’s perfect. I’m taking care of this student’s dog for a bit, but really, the cake is because he knows today is the two year anniversary of Gilgamesh’s death. An anniversary should have a cake, he says.

Angel food was Gilly’s favorite.


Gabriel García Márquez gave you away. I can tell you are an angel by the way you smell of flowers.

Love you, my Angel.



Even this week, dreams of the moment of his death.

More, now, his life; his presence right here in the present.



In this place with no memory, I can bear his absence, and remember.

I have been able to grieve here.

And unexpectedly, I have been resurrected here, after dying when Gilgamesh did.



Today I will hit “send” on the final manuscript of The Inugami Mochi, a collection of short stories, and sign the publication contract. These stories are hybrids of fiction and non, about the animal familiar, about Gilgamesh, about what happens when a love between a human and an animal has primacy in this world. Pieces of it were written and published when Gilly was still a youth: some I wrote in the last two years.

I’ll sign the contract with Saddle Road Press, and with enormous gratitude for the fact of it, put these stories in the hands of an editor, poet, and publisher who recognizes Gilgamesh, and me, and the larger-than-nonfiction nature of our relationship, as well as the value of the stories to speak beyond me and Gilgamesh—to speak to the larger Us that is made of those weird, bi-pedal creatures who have had the good fortune to be truly claimed by an animal.


Today I will perhaps go up the Stawamus Chief and look down into Howe Sound, where there are orcas who show up in my dreams, carrying Gilgamesh back to shore from Sedna’s abode and giving him back to me, alive and laughing.


Or I may just put on my wetsuit and swim the cold lake he would have loved, where the sky is a raven-filled bowl, their corvid iridescence his fur.



The last lines of The Inugami Mochi:


At world’s end, the stars have shaped themselves into a new constellation.

In the land of no-memory, when she looks up, it’s Dog’s face she sees.



guardian Ripton 4-08

Memorial, at his favorite home of all the places we loved.

Gilgamesh, on the Bridge of Names

Gilgamesh, on the Bridge of Names

The Lake.

A(n Open) letter to a friend whose beloved is dead.

Continue reading

Tablet VIII

May the trees and the rocks and the trails

…..mourn you


May the paper birches strip themselves of their skin

…..and hobblebrush rip itself up by the roots

……….to lie down in weeping cradles

……………of meadowsweet and dog-toothed violet

……………… mourning

May wooden bridges hurtle off foundations,

…..mourning the lack of your feet

May the beechnut keen itself in two and cast forth a grove of cedars


May quartz extrusions shaped like dragons

…..crack themselves open in the shape of your name

……….and weep ten thousand tears of garnet


May the deer, the moose, the wolves

…..mourn you

May coyotes fill meadows with lamentation for you

May the chickadee whistle your summons

…..forever mourning that you do not come

and may every dog lie down and howl


May every forest that lacks you

…..turn the billion scents of the world to one

……………and sandalwood become the breath

………………..of every living being who mourns you


My Onyx Anubis, my Friend:

…..I will fashion nothing for you

……….with these empty hands

……………but a place to carry you always


The skin of the lion will smell of you

…..and the wilderness echo with mourning


(Like) eagles’ wings over the beloved’s face,

… soul’s mourning


King Gilgamesh


If you would like to give a gift in memory of Gilly, you can send something to the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control and Adoption Center, who placed him in my arms 12 years ago. They will use it to help other animals find the people who need them.

Gilgamesh 8.13.2001 – 9.9.2013

8.13.2001 – 9.9.2013

Gilgamesh 8.13.2001 – 9.9.2013



Gilly’s last good (1/2) hour


One of his favorite places, where we’ve played hide and seek and catch-me for 12 years – as we did today, for 15 minutes of real, playbow, laughing play.


The beloved, the beloved’s face.


A couple of weeks ago: mac and cheese. Last week: lamb. Today: blueberry pie.
His three favorite foods.






uncomplicated forward motion




“Are you an angel made of pie?” I’ve asked Gilly thousands of times. “Or are you a pie made of angels?” We never did decide.
So much love. So many gifts.


15 minutes of play, another 15 of walking around together, sitting in the grass, singing our Sam Cooke song (he did his own whole verse), and that was all he had left. It was a perfect half hour, though. And though it cost him, he gave all he had to it. So did I.

My beautiful Gilgamesh.