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

2 thoughts on “Molly Won’t Eat

  1. Once again, you manage to contain so much heartache, so much emotion, into a long, agonizing sentence that seems to refuse to allow you to breathe but compels you to finish it all the way to the bitter end. Along the way you move seamlessly from dog to mom, until it’s clear that the one is the other is the one. Breathless at the end, I find I don’t want to breathe, after all, but for Molly eat, and not to. What a brilliant piece. Such exquisite pain.

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