Dog Mom

The dog is laughing at me now, because it always laughs at me, now that the bloom is off its rose and the fawn coat has manged and the panting breath has soured and the slobber has foamed and it has revealed its true self, the true evil nature lying behind those hazel eyes that have tricked me and morphed to blue-black, once adorable smoky jewels, now as beguiling as the shells of scarab beetles, which never break from me because we have imprinted on one another and I am now its mother, indeed I am a dog mom now and I did not ask for it, especially this dog’s mom, with those watchful eyes that never blink or leave my side, ever…ever present are the unwavering dark bulbs even as the beast laughs as it does now, me peering back, into its open jaws as the chortle curdles my blood and cracks my bones for I am fragile, so fragile, and the laughter makes me sick enough to vomit as it echoes through the halls of our endless house, which feels so endless and empty now that Mom is gone and we’re alone, oh Mom how I miss you, especially when I think of you lying cold and hollow that night—cold and hollow like this old house, this place where you died and left us, I know it was not your fault but still I feel abandoned, here where it is dark dark, mostly dark, no lights, only candles, everywhere candles shaped like bananas that sprout from the floorboards, as if this were a séance, but a séance for who, Mom maybe, a séance burning by these circles upon circles of candles all over the place, never ending, I did not ask for them just as I did not ask for the dog but my eyes are adjusting to their flickering and creamy white color, though I cannot explain where they come from, these banana columns dripping wax all over the place, where sometimes they are snuffed out by cold drafts pouring through the hall, leaving behind them melt white pools with their self-igniting wicks that spring back to life and illuminate the mold that grows on the walls and ceiling, nearly catching the black fuzzy patches aflame when they are feeling especially ferocious, often sparking in brief moments of morbid delight when bugs—the many many bugs crawling everywhere—are caught and vanished into little puffs of smoke, not only that but so bright do these candles burn that at times they’ve been known to sear my silhouettes into the cold mean spaces of the house, like the charred Japanese shadows left by nuclear bombs, my impressions are burned throughout the rooms from sitting still so long, sometimes for days and nights without moving, mostly imprints of my bent body as it sags forward from age and disease, the shadows thrown against the living room walls where I sit and sit and sit and show the hunch on my back growing Heavensward, because it rises so badly now I can see it there in my shadow stains, my hump reaching like a hand to God from a lack of sun and having been long shaded by windows blacked out with black paint because I cannot have them watching me, staring like the dog, I cannot let them wink their eyes and lick their lips and expose their bananas to me anymore, I simply cannot bear it, so the paint has hidden us, me and the dog, the dog and I, yes, the dog as well, whose name I cannot reveal to you because it might mistake me for calling it and that is the last thing I want, who knows what it might do, so I refuse to say its name, it whose giggle is almost human in timbre, a sound I will never forget or escape when gazing down into its throat, where I imagine myself someday, perhaps as a corpse like Mom, swimming past the craggy rocks of its teeth and breast-stroking carefully to not snag the loose skin of my arms on the canines, all paddling done in vain before I am sucked into the acid sea of its grotto belly where the foam is suffocating, beneath the cavernous rock ceiling that reminds me of the skeletal frame of a pirate ship, like the one I saw on television once, before it died, nearly losing myself to the viscous wash of slobber flooding the sharp tongue—snake-like, like the forked lapper of the serpent who slunk from the tree and murmured into Eve’s ear, the filthy jezebel who could not keep her legs closed, Mom said long ago that if only Eve had kept her legs closed and preserved her virtue, concealed that which all bad men desire, the pomegranate at her center, at our center, at my center which many men have tried to pluck, please don’t let them take it, don’t let them slip it in again I would beg of her, beg her to protect me from the bad men like bad boy Johnny, the neighbor boy who used to come around when I was young and who would kill small animals and make me watch as they died and afterwards would pull down my underwear and shove their little dead bodies into my pomegranate and force me to look at the naked banana in his trousers before trying to slip it in like a serpent—if only Eve had not let the serpent slip into her and steal her sacred fruit then I would have been spared all this pain and suffering, and I believe Mom when she said these things because she said many wise things in her time and always did her best to keep me safe, even now in death, watching over me, my angel, keeping me safe from the bad men who lust for my pomegranate, which happens even now though my body is wracked with sores and the hump is growing and I’ve become fat, even now the bad men still try to peer through my black windows, any slender crevice they can, to get a glimpse at my sweet pomegranate because they are pigs and desire it as a feast for their horrible bananas, and I can all but see gangs of them out there, crowding the grounds of the house and spilling their banana juice onto the earth where I cannot go, no I cannot go outside, never again, not to walk the dog even if I wanted to, not in a baby carriage or on foot, no, the dog poop must pile up in here because we cannot go outside, but I am safe in here, where Mom tried her best to keep me safe with her protection spells against the evil spirits and the bad men, and by wrongly asking this dog to watch over me, guard me, protect me, and how could she have known she was wrong about the dog, for it deceived us, Mom and I, tricked by the dog who looked beautiful and then turned bad, almost as bad as the bad men, maybe worse because a beautiful thing should not be deceitful, and besides I did not ask for it, I was not one of those girls who begged for a dog, I did not want to be a dog mom, I wanted to be a real mom, not to a dog baby but a human baby but Mom said it was not meant for me even as I wept, because of my condition and because I would have to share my precious pomegranate with a bad man, so she brought home the dog instead and announced proudly I am now a dog mom, I must become the mother, because that is the best she can do, given what God has done to me, so she said I am to care for this thing and it will care for me when she is gone, but it does not love me back, I weep and it laughs at me, laughing as it does now, the jaws wide, the soft palate, the oral pharynx, the laryngeal pharynx, the esophagus, the intestines, the stomach: this dark wet place where Mom traveled to after she died and after the corpse went rotting for a few days, but not too long because the dog took care of that, with the terrible teeth worst of all, sharpened each night by whetstone, each and every night that awful sound of the teeth sharpening into pointed stalagmites and stalactites, glistening like icicles, the sight of the flint sparking on the teeth as they are sharpened is blinding and has been seared into my brain like sun spots, hot and mean, mean mean mean, everything so mean, but maybe the polished fangs as they drip and sparkle could bear away the pain, the pain and the suffering, maybe Mom could avert her angelic eyes for one moment and the dog could laugh one more time, hahahaha, which it is doing, doing as it always does, and sink those pearly points into my neck, into where Mom taught me the important veins and arteries live, piercing them just enough to loosen the blood that pumps through my veins, hahaha, the terrible blood that keeps my body alive, makes me sit here, continues the pain and the suffering that is always there, haha, that which made Mom weep and weep because she was so powerless to prevent it, hahahaha and Mom with her body as taut as the drum when she was so young, so yum yum young, younger than I am now ha!, bent over the bedside in prayer as she would ask God every night why her baby must suffer so much, hahaha, but maybe for not much longer because the dog is creeping closer and closer, hahahahahaha, because it must know I am thinking about it, laughing still ha, perhaps louder than before, perhaps the loudest I have ever heard it laugh…

— Randall Leong is a Santa Barbarian whose work has appeared in Corona/Samizdat, Fugitives & Futurists, Expat, Misery Tourism, and Nauseated Drive. Listen to his Bandcamp here. He has a Twitter/Instagram: @serpentseason.