In the Animal Hospital’s Killing Room

In a siren’s sea-foam scrubs, the beautiful technician comes for the black-tongued
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxdog. Beneath the unnatural hazel of her eyes,
xxxxxxxxxxxxsilver piercings
xxxxxxxxxxxxexpose the translucence of her blue-inked skin I have borrowed
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxfor the morning
xxxxto escort death. My own hide, brittle with guilt and nascent knowledge of how
we learn to kill what we love.

How I wish it could have been the fangs of coyote or cougar, feral and holy. Yet, we are xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxhere now; where through a narrow
xxxxxxxxxxxxwindow, morning’s domestic
xxxxxxxxxxxxlight ravishes the stained pallet on the floor. The aide’s fingers pilot the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxfirst syringe
xxxxxlike a drone into the vial, extract the nectar, then slip the needle into the fold
of the animal’s neck. Without a flinch,

the wild dog breaks me with her eyes, her head in my lap, until her precious form slips
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxsideways onto the velour mat, her black
xxxxxxxxxxxxand tan fur liquid with breath,
xxxxxxxxxxxxslowing now, un-quicked from this morning’s run through the canyon xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxwhere I returned
xxxxxmy second hawk to un-jessed sky. I remember the horned owl the dog
snatched from the air, its failed strafe

transmuted into shiver of feathers between teeth, until release. Then the 2nd needle, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxwhich, if moral, my guilty hand would have
xxxxxxxxxxxxguided to miss the dog’s pulse,
xxxxxxxxxxxxdiverting the treacherous point into my own
xxxxxbrutal vein. Rather, I surrender to wilding tears bleeding across my denim shirt, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxuntil the black-tongued dog’s
savage beauty vanishes into memory,

and I remain,
alone,
ugly,
yet still named
human.