The American Journal of Poetry
"Strong Rx Medicine"®


Tripp Narup



I killed my dog

as surely as if I had stabbed him with a knife

or shot him with a gun.


Before we met

he had already felt the hand

of human kindness,

and the boot,

and the stick,

and the gun.


He flinched when I first reached to pet him.

He leapt to full defense mode

if surprised in sleep.


His paws moved when he slept.

I liked to think he was chasing rabbits

and not fleeing the man with the stick.


His was a fitful sleep

and I will never really know why,

despite dreaming beside him

for many years.


And then when he could no longer walk,

his joints frozen in pain,

I killed him -- a coup de grâce,

a kindness of sorts.


But this I can tell you:

Death is never kind.

It may be quick, it may be painless,

but it is not kind.


There is no swift sword of grace.

There is just the hope

that just this once

when I played God,

that I got it right.




ROBERT "TRIPP" NARUP has been a journalist, typesetter, desktop publishing service bureau manager, book editor, and for the past 20 years, a digital archive manager for a major international publisher. This is his first published poem.



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