A Conversation With My Therapist

Once, when I was a child, my family dog
picked up a kitten in its mouth, punctured
a hole in its neck and it choked on its own blood.

I think I cried for weeks. I think I tried to pry
the dog’s jaws open. I think I came running
into the kitchen, limp corpse in both hands, 

to find my mother, doing the dishes,
telling me that this is how life works:
We are kittens in our own dog’s mouth.

I answer questions about my early childhood,
my teenage years, my relationship with my parents,
the success of my siblings. The way in which I think

or don’t think about my own body. Patterns
of eating, sleeping, how much sex I have had
and with whom. Drugs I have taken willingly.

Outside her office window, a tree branch sways
violently in the wind. A robin’s egg has fallen 
from its nest, life spilling out onto the street.


Andrea Lawler is a poet, essayist, and short story writer. She holds a degree in English Language & Literature. She is the founder of two non-profits: Keeping Emmons County Clean & Frankie’s Feline Sanctuary. She currently lives in North Dakota with her three cats.