Verona

By Ann Chiappetta

A recording of this poem, read by Ann, is available below. The poem text follows.

I wait for the knock

Once it comes my life will change forever

Since I arrived

For two days and nights

For my entire life until now –

I’ve waited

Unprepared

Searching

I sit on the bed

Wondering how it will feel an hour from now

And go numb with nerves

Question scroll across the marquee of my mind

What will she be like?

Will she like me, learn to love me?

The hot red letters of doubt scroll past

Can she guide me?

Will I be able to trust her?

Then the knock comes and my heart jumps

“Come in.” I say and stay seated

Hoping I can open my heart with as much ease as the door.

I hear her nails click on the floor

I put out a hand, touch her head

She licks me, tail wagging

“Ann, this is Verona.” the trainer says

I don’t really know what to say or how to feel

But her presence soothes me

“Aren’t you a beautiful girl?” I coo as the trainer leaves

We sit on the floor together

The marquee of doubts vanishes

The blocky, red letters fade

Replaced by a message of calm, canine acceptance

Dressed in ebony

She settles her head in my lap

Each stroke of my hand

Strengthens the hope, quiets the fear

The questions dissipate with the knowledge

– Stroke by stroke –

That she is the one who will lead me

January 2009

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