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Dog After Christmas

Kassidy Jordan

Wake him up before his tail stops wagging

and he lays still on the cold cement.

Wrap your arms around his shivering body,

around the black fur covering him,

shield him from the snow as it falls.

Rub his feet that have stood on ice.

Untie the leash from the post.

Look back after you drive away, turn around

as he cocks his head to one side and sits

on the hard cement in the cold January air,

before he laid his head on the ground and waited.

Do not call him from his house in the backyard.

Do not lie to him, do not smile and clip the leash to his

green collar you bought only months before.

Walk back into the house where his dog bowl sits

and his squeaky bone lays next to

his bed, where he laid wrapped in a bow

under the tree and lights and tinsel

the morning your son first saw him.

Do not yell when he makes a mistake.

Do not push his nose into the pee-stained carpet.

Stop yourself from smacking his head

when he jumps and scratches your new sweater,

he just missed you is all.

Do not decide having a pet was a mistake.

Do not berate your son for his lack of responsibility.

Do not tell your wife this is for the best.

Do not make him miss his warm bed, the little boy

who always threw a stick for him to chase,

the smells of turkey and chicken and beef

and the gentle touches of when he was first unwrapped.

Drive away from the store where you bought him.

Pass over him as the cars do now.

Ignore his pleading black eyes

as you did when you drove away.

Leave before you give and take away the family

he loved.

Kassidy Jordan is a recent graduate from Marshall University, graduating with her BA in Creative Writing with a minor in History. She is a proud Appalachian poet based in Point Pleasant, WV, home of the Mothman. Kassidy's creative interests include place and memory in poetry, lyric, narrative, prose poetry, and all things Appalachian. Her other, more personal interests include the A Song of Ice and Fire series, coffee, dogs, and Tudor England, especially the six wives of King Henry VIII. 
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