Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
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Spring 2006, vol 4 no 1


Last Walk
Ray Rasmussen




I look up, see my daughter's teary eyes.

"What's wrong?"

"I think it's time to take Gypsy in."

"Oh," I say, and look away.

The black and white border collie has been with us for 16 years, but in the last year, she'd gone deaf and partly blind. Just yesterday, I watched as she hobbled towards her food bowl, her back legs going out from under her, stuck half sitting, staring blankly.

I go downstairs, find her on the blanket-bed where she now spends most of her time. Her nose, the only sense organ working well, goes into my hand. She sniffs, issues her 'snort' of recognition.

Was it only yesterday that we played hide and seek with her--telling her to sit while we made our way to hiding places, then calling, watching her shoot past, flying really, come to a full stop, turn, and using that keen sense of smell, find us out.

And, playing soccer with the girls in the back yard ... so fast, it was impossible to kick the ball past her.

I let her out now, kick the ball slowly, but she doesn't see it.

The red squirrel, with whom she's enjoyed endless barking wars, doesn't come out today


They go out the door, daughter and dog. Gypsy follows along obediently, allows herself to be lifted into the car.

Many times leaving for work, I would turn back to the house and see her nose pressed to the window. This time, it is my nose pressed to the window. The same tug at my heart.



mail delivery-
the sound of a dog
not barking




the cat sleeps
in the dog's bed


Ray Rasmussen Ray Rasmussen is managing editor of contemporary haibun on line and haibun editor of the World Haiku Review. His haiku, haibun and haiga have been published in Simply Haiku, the World Haiku Review, Heron's Nest, Contemporary Haibun (print journal), contemporary haibun online, tiny words and Haiku Harvest. His web site is :