Fetch means to go after something
and bring it back, but it’s also
an old word for a personal
death shadow, a kind of Grim Reaper come calling.
I am throwing a stick for my dog:
large, black and muscular,
he’s nick-named “Jaws”, and looks like
Cerberus, the dog who guards the gates of Hades—
but the point is that the stick is large and heavy
because he seems to think
the bigger the stick, the better dog he is
or the more I will love him, or both.
I throw it hard, and it lands thirty feet away
with a thud. When he returns the stick,
I throw it with greater force. Each time I throw
with greater force; still it lands
the same distance from me.
The past is a stick
which something or someone always
brings back to me; each time more slick, more
weighted with freight: dirt and grass,
black hair and dead leaves.
I glimpse my fetch, now always
at vision’s edge. I fear the past
is what I could not bury, a bag of bones
I drag behind me with one hand,
add to with the other, tossing each bone
over my shoulder, until finally,
pitting my whole weight and momentum
against the sack’s weight,
I become that which shaped me.