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Translated from the Malayalam by Gayatri Devi  


For your morning walk, 

a morning 

like a sidewalk 

rolled out by morning itself! 

Balmy and warm. 

The symphony of birds. 

Meditating trees, silent. 

After three weeks 

the sun has returned from 

its hideout. 

The sun that rose today for 

a dog. 

Mellow sun. 


My love, 

says the sun’s 

warm embrace. 

Your last walk. 

Our final walk together. 

I might walk 

without you. 

Different pace 

different rhythm. 


that would not be 

this me. 

When one ceases to be, 

his beloved ones 

also cease to be. 

One death 

equals many deaths. 


My friend, 

whom lymphoma picked 

for its cruel reign, 

how enthusiastic you are today! 

Did you get the secret news 

that your morning walks 

have reached their twilight hours? 

You have the ardor of youth in you. 

New vigor animates your withered limbs.

Perhaps childlike, perhaps ignorant 

sometimes we morph into our past forms. 

I know, 

your doctor knows, 

that this is your 

final morning walk. 

I want you to know this. 

You deserve to know this. 

Every dog has his rights. 

I feel remorse 

that I do not speak your language 

to tell you about 

the nearness of your death. 

These days 


you look at me long and silently. 

Is it to fix my face in your memory 

after you die? 

You must smell my anguish. 

My misery. 

Your exhaustion. 

Have you put the two together 

and sensed your approaching death? 


humans know nothing. 

For some time now 

you prefer to sit alone. 

In the shade of trees, 

like a monk who has 

renounced this world. 



on either side of the street 

in front of houses 

in windows 

the aged 

and the children 

greet you. 

They are saying goodbye to you. 

I have let them know 

that this is your final walk. 

The soldier who lost his legs 

to America’s patriot wars 

sitting in his wheelchair 

is crying for you. 

The elderly man with Parkinson’s 

who plays quivering notes 

on his saxophone 

on his frequent breaks from walking 

is playing today just for you. 

He smiles 

as if he knows death too shall pass. 

This city this morning 

says its farewell to you. 

“Mellow,” “Mellow” – 

Their cheers convulse the air. 

We walk slowly. 

I slacken my pace for you 

just like how you used to wait for me


You walk. 


You dance. 

Your tail 

grabs the love in the air 

and greets the world. 

Your tail that taught me 

the semantic fact that 

dogs do not wag their tail 

because they submit to you. 

Your tail now flying the flag 

of your journey to eternity. 

We leave the streets behind. 

Mankind, trees 


this world itself, 

we leave behind. 

Dead dog walking 

with its extinguished light. 

I am a proud dog 

saying dying is just another 

peaceful walk. 

In a way, Mellow, 

Isn’t every walk a death walk? 

Isn’t every life 

a walk in the company of death? 

Are you feeling tired? 

My friend, 

are your legs failing you? 


The rising sun 

removes its veil 

to show you clearly 

that you need not doubt 

its mighty radiance. 

The rising sun sometimes 

resembles the setting sun. 

My friend, 

Let us walk back now. 

Your doctor 

is waiting for our phone call. 

He had told me yesterday 

that he will stay awake tonight. 

Author’s note: This poem is inspired by the news report of the final walk by Mellow who was suffering from advanced lymphoma with his owner Kevin Curry in Dupont, Pennsylvania. Before leaving for “doggy heaven” in June 2023, Mellow and Kevin posted a note around the neighborhood where they used to walk since 2019 saying farewell to all. Throngs of people came out to say their final goodbyes to Mellow.

Shaju V. V. (b. 1974, Kerala) writes in Malayalam and is the author of two published poetry collections, The Underworld Recipe, and The Solitary One Snacking on the Peanuts of Time, and one prose collection The Suspicious Death of a Cat Named Sania Mirza.

Gayatri Devi is a writer and translator living and working in Savannah, Georgia. She translates between Malayalam and English. Her essays and translations have been published in national and international magazines and journals.

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