This selection, chosen by Guest Curator Elizabeth Vignali, is from Lararium by Ray Ball, released by Variant Lit in 2020.
The Four-Legged Beast
When my dog nudges my hand,
I feel the tightness in my chest
expand. Flutter into my throat.
She nudges my hand with her nose,
insisting with a certain baleful,
yet playful, look in her eyes
that I must survive this.
I must fill her bowls with food
and water. I let her and this darkness
into the dim morning shadows
of a suburban backyard and pray
it is only the four-legged beast
who returns to her crate.