Dog Dreams

This is the dog that bit my leg in Pushkar.

Rajasthani pizza eaten,
I negotiate a maze of
chaiwallahs and opium dealers,
through the alley strewn with discarded banana leaf plates,
the fast music
of dough fried in bubbling vats of fat,
swooning from purple odor of garlic, incense,
the stink of piss from open sewers,
down the unlit streets to my room.
I remember the moon
casting the bare walls of the Everest Hotel
in frigid blue,
then nothing
but snarling, dog spit,


I never saw the dog, but in my dreams
she is a bitch
with a littler to defend,
or he is tan, with white-tipped tail, big balls,
knuckling feet.
Wolves, jackals, or a mean mouthed Doberman-
it's always the same:
me, gripping animal snout,
squeezing jaws closed, teeth together.
Once it was a crocodile, whose mouth I bound
with masking tape. Another time, a shark.
I do not ask
what they have to tell.
A friend tells me
"This is fear."

She is the dog that betrays me.

Melissa Williams

I am working in a kennel. It is not what I want but I am doing my best. I am assigned a group of dogs. I study them carefully. I read. I do research.

The dogs are a mix of breeds and characters. Some are sick. Some have been abused. I keep working with them, each dog's needs. The dogs are happy.

A woman comes to see me. Dressed in a suit, an authority. "You have done an amazing job with these dogs." she says.

I am proud and happy. My dogs don't want to leave the kennel.

She says, "But you will not be able to continue this job."

Now I am shocked and confused. Have I done too good a job? Are others jealous? Are the dogs supposed to be unhappy? I don't understand.

She says, "You are turning into a dog. Within a month."

I am horrified. There is no reprieve. I have been focused on the dogs. I haven't paid attention to myself. I am turning in to a dog.

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