I can live here. I can live here just fine. “If I am ever lost,” I tell the dogs, “start at the house and search in circles that widen.” This is how we try to find him. “Understand,” I say, “right.” This one dog is so funny, we laugh quite a lot, and I place my palm over its shoulders and it rests and I rest. But one night I find it crawled atop another dog, tail pushed to the side. I approach them and both snarl but will not detach. I bang some pots together and they finally run out of the house. The dog comes back eventually but I am wary of it now. I avoid it.
Everywhere it seems, under tables, in closets, at the foot of my bed, puppies are appearing from the bodies of dogs. This makes me wonder what will one day appear from my own body, or if inversely things will only disappear inside it, eventually enclosing itself, enclosing me. The latter thought is startling. There sure are a lot of them now, I think as I watch the dogs multiply. Have I only just realized it? I go to the bathroom for some towels.
Their numbers make me think, if I died would these dogs eat me? If they were starving would they attack? I am sure that they would eat me, but if I were starving perhaps I’d do the same. They came to me for food, but now in their strength they bring me so much. The carcasses cover the yard. And I am comforted when I see it, this evidence that they are as determined as I am to avoid the consequences of our hunger.
I kneel down and put my arms around one of the dogs. It licks my face. I block it with my hand and it licks my hand. I am wearing my brother’s shirt. I pull the dog’s head to my chest. “Do you smell him?” I say to the dog. “Do you know where he is?” The dog growls, backs away. The look in its eyes is one I have seen before. It’s a look that does not know me. I stare into the dog’s face and say, “Is he dead?” When I leave I hide behind a tree until the dogs lose interest in me, move away, then I’m off. I run.
Sarah Tourjee lives online at sarahtourjee.wordpress.com and on land in Providence, RI. Her short fiction and prose can be found in Quarterly West, Conjunctions, PANK, The Collagist, Wigleaf, Everyday Genius, Anomalous, and elsewhere. She is currently at work on a manuscript entitled Sam Says, Sam.
This week’s Wardrobe Best Dressed was selected Nicole Oquendo. Nicole Oquendo is an Assistant Editor for Sundress Publications, and the Nonfiction Editor of Best of the Net. Her most recently published essays and poetry can be found in DIAGRAM, fillingStation, Storm Cellar, and Truck.