Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2022  Vol. 21  No. 1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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We’re waiting for our dog to die.
She stopped eating three days ago
and is weakening like a star receding
into the static and snow

and dust of the universe’s edge,
the static of the past
as we understand it, a record you can’t
wipe clean. At once, it’s fast

and slow, the receding I mean. I really
can’t see her go and yet
she seems more gone whenever I look.
Does that make sense? We get

our stories in pieces I suppose.
Maybe the real fiction
of fiction is when it’s fluid and clear,
when the only actual friction

is in conflict and not in time.
Or maybe what’s happening
is when I see the dog I see
myself—Kate and me bringing

her home from the shelter, bringing our babies
home to meet her, my selves
slipping into the ravenous black.
The way the present shelves

itself onto the past, like a boat
beached with significant speed,
we often don’t see the past below us.
But when some bit is freed,

by an unexpected gesture or word
or Ellie’s wasting face,
we’re shocked to see how much is there.
Its practiced formal pace

has a fetish for displacing us
with us. I don’t know how much
longer Ellie has, but we’ll keep her
comfortable. I’ll touch

her bones through her skin and think of my life.
Selfish asshole, you might
be saying, but what else can I do?
I am mourning my lack of insight,

I am mourning the displacement, which is
as normal as a daisy.
I am mourning time’s relentlessness
and its wide caves of lazy

hours that toy with our sense of story,
the one we thought we could write,
the romance of a gilded day
ending with endless night.  

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