• Jennifer L. Knox



  • Her harness wasn’t fastened right—
  • twisted straps and clips too small
  • for shaking hands to cinch. He didn’t trust
  • a leash—not since the time she ran away
  • a whole week: her first day in his house,
  • in a space bigger than her body, no puppies
  • on her tits. The vastness must’ve pulled
  • her like a riptide. Where was its end?
  • He’d seen her in the paper—bleached face,
  • gummy fur—and when he brought her home, saw
  • her backside: bloody and blown out. Thirty litters
  • she’d nursed, he figured. Act 2 lasted years
  • at his scuffling feet, brushed and fed and fretted
  • after, called inside when the weather was lovely
  • which it always was, even the rain. Act 3 began
  • when she stepped from the yoke and kept going—
  • didn’t run, didn’t need to. He was scrambling
  • to rise. Houses and yards looked strange but not
  • like the first time she escaped, when possibility
  • blinded her like a bomb, and she had no muscles
  • in her legs. She could walk a long way now—
  • all healed up like a real dog.

JENNIFER L. KNOX is the author of four books of poems and is currently writing an autobiographical cookbook. Her work has appeared four times in The Best American Poetry series and in The New York Times, The New Yorker, and American Poetry Review. Her most recent book is Days of Shame & Failure. She is the curator of the Iowa Bird of Mouth project and teaches at Iowa State University.

Issue Three
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