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
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