Drop it!

we used to say to the dog,
as he mouthed over and over
his ragged beloved tennis ball–
how he wanted, wanted us to
throw it– but that meant
having to let it go.

Gray, frayed,
stinking of slobber, the ball
was just too precious to give up.
Until memory kicked in–
the throw, the arc, the rush
of capture, and then at last
the praise, Good dog!
— outraced his need to hang on.

Drop it! I tell myself,
my terrier heart filled with
worn-out need. So hard
to let go–not knowing, over
and over, what will happen next.