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Poetry Winter 2021

my father’s dead dog

by Angeline Truong

so when the dog died at the ripe old age of twelve my father
responded as he usually did, which was to sigh heavily,
boil an egg for six minutes, and eat it in two bites.

my mother always believed if you made hens lay eggs year-round, they’d
run out, so in the winter my father would eat oranges instead
like a monster: biting them whole, spitting out the rind. I peeled
them hesitantly, and he beat me for the orange residue under my nails.

my father loved that old dog. once my mother cursed it as she came
around and found it licking rotten apples; my father loved that dog so
he bought five apples at the grocery store, and forgot the bread.
he used to crawl downstairs while my mother was asleep,
so he could pet that dog, kiss that old dog, who slept so soundly.
in the mornings I woke to see his body circled
around the circle of that dog banished to the kitchen floor.
I had to wake him back to my mother, place an old coat
over the dog, so it would not stir.

my father loved that dog, though he always knew his marriage would outlive it,
that one day there would only be a cold bed, the white morning sky in the window,
and no-dog curled in-between them, but possibly it was precisely
because my father knew that dog would die in his lifetime, possibly he
only loved it because he knew that sad beast
would die someday soon, and after he had kissed it
goodbye, he could get back to what mattered, things that would only last
for as long as he had his mouth around them:

bites out of covered fruit, full of seeds and rind.
drinks from a boiled egg at night, tipping back the wet and yolky center,
as he laughed, mouth wide, face up towards the yellow moon. 

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