Walking Ms. Dog
by Robert L. Dean, Jr.

Ms. Dog stands on the shore
and the sea keeps rocking in
and she wants to talk to God.
—Anne Sexton, Hurry Up Please It’s Time

dark and stormy night but Ms. Dog must go out my living room cypresses sway Ms. Dog keeps me on a short leash her bleached bones clatter in the cold wind I ask her why the carbon-monoxide-locked-garage-door thing ah Bobby she says using my puppyhood name that’s the easy part the tough part Mommy’s fur coat I’d never be caught dead wearing pause sofa I hike a leg in the end I say you just couldn’t let go life still meant something Ms. Dog jerks the leash I was a failed abortion Bobby in the night in the kitchen above the butcher block counter top Vinnie One Ear making swirling motions always knew Ms. Dog says that candle-hat thing was baloney don’t you piss on the canvases Bobby I nearly choke she yanks so hard only the dishwasher I whimper she studies Vinnie’s bloodless face you’ve almost got it she says pulls a gun a little shot of this’ll do it stars burst from Vinnie’s belly light years back to my office God I say I want to die like that Ms. Dog flips her femur onto my desk well then Bobby she aims the gun cocks the hammer up on your hind paws slit your wrists let the ink flow I pluck a galaxy from the sky flesh implodes the universe big-bangs I crack the bone how sweet the marrow

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