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Stock photo: Milky Way reflected in a lake


'Portrait of a Life, Yesterday,' by Maria Tori

Fall 2021

My dog was with me, pacing in the night.  

She cannot see very well for an animal.  


Today, she sits with me on the chair,  

stretches her neck out, points her head  

into the sky, and wiggles her perceptive 

little nose. I know what she is doing.  


I have done it too.  


We have come, she and I—in the early dawn, 

to touch our noses to the sky and feel. 

Suddenly, we might disappear. 

Nothing beyond or below. 


I recognize the same things— 

The no space—between myself, my dog,  

the air, that tree, the gate in the middle of the  

night, the perfectly still lake water, reflecting;  

the stars woven through some spirit of a cloud.  

Clouds at night.  


Between me and that toad I released into the wild  

there. Between me and my crying at the end of the path.  

Between the phone and the phone call.  


What is it like to trust a friend?  


Like reeds swaying at the edge of the pond. 

My dog shoves her big head into my chest.  

She knows. 


Maria Tori is a Japanese-American poet, painter and bird lover. She is a sophomore majoring in Environmental Science with a minor in Art. She has been published in Poetry East, The Louisville Review and The Ariel and was invited to speak at Spalding University’s annual Outstanding Undergraduate Creative Writers Evening hosted by the university’s Master of Fine Arts program and 21c Hotel and Museum. She lives in Louisville with her beloved dog, Georgia, who reminds her to be authentic, curious and assertive every day.   

Tags: Poem

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