Gary Worth-Moody

Issue #
March 24, 2019

In the Animal Hospital's Killing Room

In a siren’s sea-foam scrubs, the beautiful technician comes for the black-tongued
                                                              dog. Beneath the unnatural hazel of her eyes,
                       silver piercings
                       expose the translucence of her blue-inked skin I have borrowed
                                                              for the morning
        to 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

                                                              here now; where through a narrow
                       window, morning’s domestic
                       light ravishes the stained pallet on the floor. The aide’s fingers pilot the

                                                              first syringe
         like 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
                                                              sideways onto the velour mat, her black
                       and tan fur liquid with breath,
                       slowing now, un-quicked from this morning’s run through the canyon

                                                              where I returned
         my 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,

                                                              which, if moral, my guilty hand would have
                       guided to miss the dog’s pulse,
                       diverting the treacherous point into my own
         brutal vein. Rather, I surrender to wilding tears bleeding across my denim shirt,

                                                              until the black-tongued dog’s
savage beauty vanishes into memory,

and I remain,
yet still named

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