I am holding a dying dog

I am holding a dying dog | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Courtesy of Stephen Rahn/Flickr (public domain).


because no one else will. His eyes
are white and cracked like the moon,
    little crescents. And when I set
him down, he runs, not knowing
where he’s going. He hits the wall,
    then the chair. On his back his legs
keep moving, going nowhere. I wonder
if that’s what death is like; all you see
    is a crescent moon, a crack of light
that you keep running into. I know
my dad is dying. I can feel it coming
    like a chill, or the way you know
what will happen when you mix red
and blue—a dark crack of pigment
    that only gets larger. I dream
of these colors, the lights reflect
to purple on my dad’s airstream trailer.
    In my dream, he’s dead—meth pipe
cracked to a crescent moon. Someone
assumes he doesn’t have a daughter.
    Then, a crack in the Earth for him
to go into. When I wake I find the moon
outside my own window and I phone him—
    I want to make sure he sees it too.

Hannah Schultz is a poet from Southern California, and currently resides in San Francisco. She is the recipient of Poet’s Billow’s 2021 Atlantis Award. Her work is published or forthcoming in Slipstream, Cultural Daily, Neon Door, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Trampoline.
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