David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
To Marcus (Our Brutus)

March 31, 2024

We didn't know we needed you

Until your predecessor,

Mr. Sylvester,

Didn't make a sound

Or even come down

When some punks vandalized the front porch,

Or when the police were sent forth,

"Our new house needs a better guard,"

We told our cowardly dog,

And at the local pound we found,

The most misbegotten hound,

A Basset Newfoundland mix,

One of God's little tricks,

And we took home our freak of nature,

With a voice we knew'd make us feel so safer.

We named you after a character from Frank Norris,

The undersized friend of McTeague, of course,

Scrappy little companion with a chip on his shoulder,

No better name for our new soldier

Even if our McTeague was no longer around

For you to irritate and confound,

Or wrestle to the ground as in the famous novel.

With your bumpy head, long snozzle,

Short legs, your look hardly alarmed.

But it didn't take us long to see our Marcus

As the household's reigning Mister Barkus,

Yipping,  Growling, Yapping

At any man, beast or leaf passing,

And you settled in as one of us,

Underfoot, overfed, and always thunderous,

When the boy's friends came by,

And you would not be denied,

Of taking in their testosterone,

As you threw your voice to its deepest baritone.

Later, when I tried to go away,

You and Sylvester patiently stayed

So that at my return, you panted at the gate

Where you so often laid

So as to see us coming home.

Grizzly became your brother, as Sylvester

Left us for another world.

And you settled in as many characters:

Mr. Welby, Stubby, and Sir Barkalot,

Needing be to carried upstairs

When you no longer could bear

To contort that body to get up there.

And today at Easter, we lay that body to rest,

A faithful companion, always the best,

Whatever qualms I had with the decision we beared,

Were laid to rest with Zevon's "My Ride's Here."

The chariot of angels came to you, our prince,

We remain with your paw print.