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January 2014, vol 9, no 4

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Collin Barber


Wrapped in a towel (in case he defecates), Mercury trembles in my lap as my wife and I wait at the animal clinic. X-rays are negative, but lab tests reveal that he has renal failure. The veterinarian asks us if it’s possible our dog could have ingested anything poisonous. He tells us he needs to keep him overnight and administer IV fluids to rehydrate his kidneys.

anemic moon
the thin glow
of a cirrus cloud

We get home at dusk, and I search the garage for signs that he may have gotten into the antifreeze. My wife makes the ominous suggestion that he could have been poisoned by a neighbor. I have my doubts, but I inspect the backyard anyway. Next to the fence, we notice a bucket neither one of us have ever seen before. I shine the flashlight on it . . . and there it is written in sharpie . . . “Have a Nice Summer”.

sudden death
my heart’s weight
in dog years