Aug 5, 2014

Clausen’s Dog

Written by Anders Carlson-Wee

Read by Mary Angelino

We float the rubber lifeboat down the cul-de-sacs.
Through the backyards of prefabs and ramblers
where the tops of small trees beckon
like oil-blackened hands. We are looking
for animals. Dogs and cats and other pets left behind
because leaving them behind was the rule
during the evacuation. For hours there is nothing.
Silence and the sculling of a plastic paddle.
The far-off gas station sunken past the pumps.
The hundred-year flood covering everything
three feet deep. When we find Clausen’s dog
it is not where we were told to look. Not curled
on his roof. Not barking from the glassless window
of his attic. When we find Clausen’s dog it is tied
to a cinderblock with a choke-chain leash,
an ear flap lapping softly at the surface.
The choke-chain cinches down through loose
neck-flesh to the visible bone. A minnow hovers
in the eye hole. When we find Clausen’s dog
the colorless fur clumps like a stubble of bunchgrass
receding from the furrowed plains of the rib cage.
The bobbing sidemeat nibbled by perch.
Chunks glaumed away by turtles.
When we find Clausen’s dog the bone-paws drag
the bottom like lures, jerking forward
on the same wrist-hinge as the living paws
of a sleeping dog, whimpering, trying to run
inside a dream.