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One for the Mutt

My dog is like my heart. Just a pup, really, but good-sized and equipped with teeth. And my dog likes to play and will nip and mouth and scratch in a great show of fun.

My dog is like my heart. And my dog will jump on my children, mistaking them many times for other pups in the pack. The pack has its order-who dominates over who. And my dog will jump and knock over and nip and bite in an attempt to show dominance over my children.

My dog is like my heart. And my dog will escape sometimes, released out the front door by accident and will run and run. And through my neighbors' backyards my dog goes after moths and butterflies and birds, chasing them from the ground into the air. And my dog will chase rabbits and my dog will seek out other dogs to tussle and pounce and play with.

My dog is like my heart. And when my dog has escaped from leash or closed door, my dog is unaware of dangers and will wander in front of pick-up trucks and beat-up chevys-vehicles driven by teenagers chasing out their own heart-similes. But if I give up the chase through the neighbors' yards and turn away, my dog will eventually follow.

My dog will chew interesting-smelling sticks and roots and grasses and leaves and then vomit them later on the kitchen floor.

My dog will visit a neighbor's dog-a dog always fenced and never seen out on the sidewalk-and will run with it up and down the length of its fence. And they stop from time-to-time in the heat of their running and thump tails against the grass and touch their cold noses together through the wires.

I discipline my dog. And my dog is learning not to nip and jump at the kids. My dog is learning not to chew the corners of the furniture.

I play with my dog right there in my own good backyard. And I take my dog out to the parks and fields where one can run hard in any direction, and to the woods where there is movement and life canopied overhead and teeming underfoot and there are new and thrilling smells.

My dog is like my heart. And sometimes I want a well-disciplined dog, well-behaved, devout, obedient dog and I get impatient and angry to make that happen. And then my dog will cower when I walk into the room, will lay down when I outstretch my hand. And at those times I go down beside my heart, my dog, and roll also on my back until my dog, my heart, begins to jump about and offer playful growls and yips and even occasionally put that mouth with all those sharp teeth to my neck. And I hold very still. My eyes are closed. I feel the cold nose with the snuffling air blown against the flesh of my throat. I feel the hardness of the teeth when the mouth opens. I imagine the puncture of of those teeth through my windpipe and the splash of blood and the frenzy my dog would go into at the taste and thrill and passion of it all. I wait.

And then I feel the gentle lick of a rough tongue on my neck and I open my eyes.

Love to you all.

The Ninth Circle