The winter morning our ten-year-old

golden spaniel mix

has what appears to be a heart attack, stretching

his neck toward heaven the way my wife

gulps pills, Mom drops her scrambled eggs and bacon

at the butcher’s block and spills

into the back yard to cradle his sinking head.

Leaving my oil-splashed plate’s quiche

in shambles, I’m next. He watches us watch him,

quivering. What haunts me is how easily

conversation flows through end-of-life

scenarios to the next pet. Afterwards,

my little sister Mariah’s key won’t ignite the engine

of her new Hyundai Elantra.

We gather in the driveway. She holds the copper

jaws apart, one in each hand,

and clamps plus to plus, negative to negative.

Not to be late for work, she pulls out of the driveway.

What haunts me is the speed, how swiftly after one

leaves, the next arrives to fill the vacancy.

What haunts me is the vacancy.

Bend Genres With Us!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest updates about new issues, contests, submission periods, and workshops.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest