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Death in the Family

 They call it stroke.
Two we loved were stunned by that same blow of cudgel or axe to the brow.
Lost on the earth they left our circle broken.
One spent five months falling from our grasp mute, her grace, wit, beauty erased.
Her green eyes gazed at us as if asking, as if aware, as if hers.
One night she slipped away; machinery of mercy brought her back to die more slowly.
At long last she escaped.
Our collie dog fared better.
A lesser creature, she had to spend only one day drifting and reeling, her brown eyes beseeching.
Then she was tenderly lifted, laid on a table, praised, petted and set free.
-Julie Alger

by Julie Hill Alger
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