Last week my husband worked outside repairing the power vent for our water heater and I acted as his assistant. In the process, he dropped a small screw into the snow. If you’ve ever dealt with a similar situation, it will come as no surprise that I couldn’t find the screw. Losing things in the snow is easy. For me, that brings to mind the opening line from Elizabeth Bishop’s poem, “One Art” — “The art of losing isn’t hard to master.” If you’re not familiar with the poem, you might want to look it up as it’s a classic.

Losing a screw is an annoyance, but there are much worse things to lose. One of the worst is to lose someone you care about. That kind of loss stays with you. I lost my parents years ago, and that still haunts me. About four and a half years ago I lost a close friend, Karie Friedman of Montville.

Karie was a fine poet and exceptionally good at critiquing other people’s poems. She was also a wonderful hostess and often invited friends to her house for special meals. I still have poems with her handwritten comments and remember her for her tray of teas, the warmth of her table and her laugh. We often recall the people we lose for their strengths and items iconic to them.

Not too long ago, poet Sharon Bray of Orland suffered the loss of her longtime companion, Dick Hale. Three or four years before that, her 15-year-old dog, Max, also died. She puts both Dick and Max in this poem, but she says, “I lied, Max never followed Dick skiing. Well, maybe part way around; then lie down in the ski tracks so Dick would have to go around him thereafter.”

Sharon has strong memories of her dog. “Once when I went out alone in a kayak on the Salt Pond in Sedgwick, Max (who did not like to swim) came out after me. I had to lock him in the house. His protective instinct amazed me.”

Sharon says she cries when thinking and writing about Max. I’m guessing she’s shed quite a few tears thinking and writing about Dick Hale as well. She has a book of poems about Dick titled “Fast Skier.”

Sharon is the founding publisher of Bucksport’s weekly newspaper, “The Enterprise.” She also published the “Narramissic Notebook” and a book of her own poems, “Putting Things By.” Her freelance writing and photography have been published in local and regional newspapers, literary journals and anthologies.

Dog and his Skier

I see him in dusk,

blue form barely discernible along the tree line

kicking up clouds and straight sprays of white.

He moves so fast —

when I look down to write his image,

he’s already started another lap in spite of rain or icy snow.

A shadow follows him on the far side.

His dog runs ghostwise just out of pale reach,

a shaggy shadow under oaks as dark rolls in from the east.

Judy Kaber is Belfast’s poet laureate.

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