Dear Earth, We Are Killing the Animals and Incinerating Ourselves

by | Robert Vaughan - January Day 2

Dog days, my grandma used to call them, tattered end of a summer that hung on too long after it should have, a murderous furnace of days. Think cold, she’d say while we sat out front. Think of snow and the dim white of a bone moon in December. Dog days, the old mutt lying doggo on the kitchen linoleum, fur rug to step around on the way to the icebox where my grandpa kept his bottle of vodka. August water, he called it, a tall glass or two to grease his tongue. The bastards he worked for, bunch of rich assholes. Wouldn’t piss on ’em if their hearts were on fire. The fog of vodka, the fire of it. Dog days, he said. Every damn day a dog


  1. Robert Vaughan

    Hi Sarah, another superb micro-slice. Love that we get the voice of both grandma and grandpa and the dog days with an actual mutt in the mix. Reminds me in terms of the language and style of a memoir called Ghost Bread by Rochester native Sonja Livingston. It’s mainly a memoir about poverty and growing up with a scarcity or lack, but her poetic prose kept me entirely riveted, in addition to seeing the city in which I grew up, in an entirely new lens. One tiny suggestion- I think you can notch up the weird meter on this, reading through the examples in this course called Stop Making Sense? Here’s what I think: how weird can you get? You can always reel it back in (slightly?!!)

    • Sarah Freligh

      Read and enjoyed all of the examples. Big Diane Seuss fan, especially her latest work, the long free verse poems.

      • Robert Vaughan

        Me too, Sarah. I loved Frank: Sonnets and especially am rocking with her newest pubs all around the net. She is wondrously talented.

  2. Meg Tuite

    Hi Sarah,
    WOW! It’s so gorgeously crafted and moves like a smoothie of love! I love every part of this and the symphonic beauty of this is hypnotic.
    Send this lovely out! DEEP LOVE!

  3. Adrian Frandle

    oof, so much packed into a little packet of doggies and vodka. i adore: The fog of vodka, the fire of it. Dog days, he said. Every damn day a dog.

  4. David O'Connor

    Sarah, love the title and the whole piece. Really great rhythm, energy, and the underlying emotion creates a real buzz. This is really good. Love it.

  5. John Steines

    Hello Sarah. I really enjoyed this. I see where the brevity still allows a lot of content. Lots of fun lines, both with a serious angle, still on the funny side: ‘a murderous furnace of days’, Absolutely LOVE this: ‘dim white of a bone moon’ – WOW, ‘the old mutt lying doggo’, ‘fur rug to step around’, ‘a tall glass or two to grease his tongue’, ‘Wouldn’t piss on ’em if their hearts were on fire.’ Wonderful all the way through.

  6. Chelsea Stickle

    Love this piece, Sarah. I love the repetition of dog. How you use it every way you can. The title is great. It’s absolutely the kind of thing I read in the table of contents and immediately turn to read. You do a fantastic job of creating a place and a mood. It feels so real.

  7. Nancy Stohlman

    I think what takes this story up another level is the way you add another layer of meaning with the title. If, for instance, the title had been Dog Days, I would have liked it still. Everything I like about it (imagery, compression) would still be there. But the title adds an interloper, a ghost in the corner watching it all go down.
    What a nugget! xo

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