This Dog Is Not a Dog
Hershey. What else could you name a chocolate lab
but Hershey? Hershey wet mouth lapping
from a dirty stream. Hershey soft paw digging
out a metal stake. Hershey long claw scattering holes
across the yard, which my younger self tried to fill
with fallen leaves. When Hershey saw this, she tried
to wrestle me out of her yard, out of her home on Craig Road.
She rammed my mouth with the top of her head,
drew blood and knocked the corner off a tooth.
Our mother was furious.
It’s been ten years, and that tooth still doesn’t sit right
in my mouth. It’s been ten years, and Hershey limps up stairs.
Ferocious scatterbrain, she is an old, old girl, having chewed
her angry way through year after year. When I leave for college,
she starts sleeping outside my room, and when I visit,
the sneezes she plants on my feet say: Sister,
I could still take you.
In memory of Velva Grebe