He wrote, “How ya been, you haven’t posted,”
and I had to think through all of the details
first. You know that big gangly puppy
that bounds in from the backyard
and vomits all over the kitchen floor,
then licks up every drop and runs to the door,
looking back at you with a demented
tongue-lolling grin? And you can’t let him
out fast enough. Not like that.
Or the tiny dog who climbs into your lap
just wanting to snuggle
while you radiate healing vibes
to one another? Nuh-uh.
Or the loveable Lab, lying
in a patch of winter sunlight,
groaning in her sleep before
struggling painfully to her feet
to celebrate your being!
Nope. This is much more toxic:
an old dog, slinking
under the back porch in the dark night.
She’s been kicked around
with such careless unrelenting brutality
that there’s no reason to hide anymore
except this time the attacker was invisible,
a malicious assassin who is not afraid to enter
the dark, and delights in the gift
like the evil man in a horror film
with a torture chamber.
She will not come out for food,
maybe water when the coast is clear
after throwing up discreetly.
She is shivering in her fever-induced nightmares,
but can you really feel so sorry
for someone sleeping in a lush fur coat?
And yes, I know that telling you this
reveals my deep psychological
blah blah blah, but that’s the one
I mean when
I bravely respond
in all honesty, “So sick.
Sick as a dog.”