Selection from “The Green Condition”
One night the raccoon bares its teeth, chases the dog, who makes a noise I’ve never heard before. I yell. I bring a broom. The animal turns and faces me. I have on socks and no shoes. I kick its hoary side and it returns to tree. The top of my foot retains a physical echo of the creature’s hard round side for hours.
The dentition, 40 teeth with the dental formula: 22.214.171.124 / 126.96.36.199, is adapted to an omnivorous diet. The carnassials are not as sharp and pointed as those of a full-time carnivore.
The rest of the night I image-search animal bites and read about rabies. I read about malaise and pain, craze, hydrophobia, and the paralytic post-furious stage.
It can lie dormant for up to five years.
The world’s smallest baby was born without ears.
That isn’t true.
I don’t know anyone who wants children.
Elizabeth J. Colen has lived in three dozen different houses in seven different states. She is the author of poetry collections Money for Sunsets (Steel Toe Books, 2010; finalist for the Lambda Literary Award in 2011) and Waiting Up for the End of the World: Conspiracies (Jaded Ibis Press, 2012), as well as flash fiction collection Dear Mother Monster, Dear Daughter Mistake (Rose Metal Press, 2011), and the hybrid long poem / lyric essay The Green Condition (Ricochet Editions, 2014).
Mary Stone Dockery is the author of One Last Cigarette, a poetry collection, and the chapbooks Blink Finch and The Dopamine Letters. Her poetry and prose has appeared inStirring: A Literary Collection, Gutter Eloquence, Arts & Letters, Redactions, and others. She earned her MFA from the University of Kansas in 2012. Currently, she lives and writes in St. Joseph, MO, where she teaches English at Missouri Western State University and coordinates the First Thursdays Open Mic at Norty’s Bar and Grill.
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