Molly Won’t Eat

Molly looks good for a hundred and nineteen, though

her fur has thinned and her pace slowed, and she hasn’t

heard a word I’ve said in years and it seems the twenty-

two hours of sleep she needs and the fretful yelps at my

touch mean she’s slipped into the fog of doghiemers.

This morning when I offered a breakfast of something

she’d never had before, knowing that though she can’t

name the presidents in descending order she does recall

that whatever she ate last won’t be touched again, so I

must invent enticements to continue the grim charade

of eating, a habit she misplaced like a buried bone,

she turned up her nose, as though the mundanity of

chewing, swallowing, and living were just too much, and

I pushed the meat into her mouth like I did with Momma

in her last days when she didn’t know me or why I’d

come to torture her with crackers and cheese and the

nutritious drinks that always made her gag up half of

what went down and all I could do was hope the half

she kept would buy another day and another round of

crackers and cheese and the panic that choked me when

I told her again and again how much I loved her and

lied through my teeth when I said she didn’t have to

stay if it was time for her to go because I would never

not need her though every time she asked my name a

piece of me crumbled. It’s hard to explain to a deaf

dog that it’s not for her sake that I want her to eat

but for mine.


©Dana Hughes 2.26.16

A Valentine for Mary

It was my decision they said when

they came with wringing hands

and word of yet unspoken

but newly broken vows

sundered by a shadow

planting seed in the soil

where mine should be,

but they hoped I’d understand.

Of course of course I said

and why not take to wife

the one who had not shied

from the advance of another?

No angel came to prick my heart

and prod my thoughts or

unfold the vaunted plan.

It was my decision to keep her

alive so that after she was his

she would be mine.


© Dana Hughes 2.13.16