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Barky McBarkface

is mailing it in today,

his half-assed ruff

a far cry from his

usual barrage of



when his teeth

are keenly bared,

sharpened by the

years of crunchy bits,

his tongue a hanging

sock that’s soaked

in drool,

and we’ve been


for the window

that keeps him in,

on his human’s

upholstered couch,


any who venture near,

who worry he

might smash right through

the glass, devour the flesh

right off their bones,

ones he’d calmy


come the slaughter’s


but not today,

his head barely

lifting from his

post, where his daily

sentry duties

have kept the neighbours

on their toes,


a ballerina’s step

to check the mail,

a soft and trepid

creeping to the car,

an exhalation

once they’ve locked

themselves inside,

repeating the


but in reverse,

when they've returned

to their driveway

with a gulp,

but for us, on our

pleasant constitutional,

the one he normally


we worry that he’s

sick, that decrepitude

and wear

have settled in,

that we won’t

know what to do

come his passing,

won’t know what to

speak of

when the birds are


when the air

is dense with sweat, the

clouds a brim of black

before they spot us,

walking ‘round the bend,

a flash and peal

of fury to be unleashed,

one that scares us

shitless, warns

us to keep our distance.

Andreas Gripp

August 22, 2023

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