I had a dog named Reuben Sky.
Well he was only partly mine,
my older brother,
who could already read
named his part Reuben
after some boy in a book,
a book I never knew or read.
My part was Sky because he was white as a cloud.
My brother said, why don’t you call him cloud?
Because cloud is a silly name for a dog, I replied.
Like most good dogs,
Reuben Sky would come when I called,
and he seemed to know
what it was like to be the little brother.
He slept on my bed,
and kept me company
when I went rattlesnake hunting
in the woods.
He was my best friend,
my steady partner, curled at my feet
while we fought Stevens pirates
or crept through King Solomon’s Mines,
he helped me solve every Hardy Boy mystery.
And once we even killed a great white whale.
One day when he was old,
I went off to college in Cincinnati,
and while I was gone,
Reuben Sky went to heaven.
My father buried Reuben Sky
under a tree on a little rise,
over looking our rattlesnake woods.
This old world has turned
ten thousand times
but I still miss you, my Reuben Sky.