Afterglow (A Dog Memoir)

The thing is—I’m a cat person.

It’s not that I dislike dogs—I like them a lot. But if it’s true that there are only two types of people in the world, that being cat people or dog people, I’m a cat person. And the thing is: most of the people I know who’ve gotten dogs promptly vanish. The dog ends up being totally neurotic and they have to stay home with it and it sucks up every hour they’re not at work and I never see them again. Them being the people. I never even meet the dog, in most cases. My friends with children are better—they want to escape for a couple of hours and talk using full sentences. The dog people, well, they just like their dogs too much.

Afterglow (A Dog Memoir) is Eileen Myles’s tribute to her dog, Rosie, who after a long life has succumbed to death. Myles takes care of her pitbull’s basic needs in her dying days and ruminates on their 16 year relationship. It is touching, and Rosie does seem like she was a much loved and loyal companion.

Myles writes about walks they’d taken and how much Rosie meant to her. “You were always my boat. You brought me space and peace. I put you in the middle of my life and you never steered me wrong,” Myles writes.

It is a sweet tribute, these lines. The bits about Rosie, that are actually about Rosie, and living with Rosie, and being with Rosie, and taking care of Rosie, are lovely. But I’d be lying if I said my eyes didn’t glaze over during long tangents or when the dog was the one doing the writing. I’m clearly not the philosopher I’d like to imagine I am, and Myles has a very tangential mind. I’m sure Rosie was a very, very good dog. As far as dogs go.

Eileen Myles was at Events 55 (Life Drawing), 61 (Poets in the House) and 69 (Eileen Myles in Conversation with Aislinn Hunter) at the 2017 Vancouver Writers Festival.

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