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.