to commit murder, slice a dog in half, reassure its trembling
fur, its anxious eyes that I will do it clean, by running a
sharp knife fast along its length. Though each time I trembled
with the dog, said do not be afraid
for us both.
Instead I now find the dog in two pieces
split in half but still alive, and it is my task
to glue her back. I take my time, I do it
almost perfect. The dog is healed, is whole, yet
I haven’t aligned her right, one back leg
is too high; she limps slightly, moves
— haltingly —
Clare Needham is the author of the novella Bad Books, published by Ploughshares Solos in 2015. Her work has appeared in New York Tyrant, Catapult, Bodega Magazine, Fiction Attic Press, and Armchair/Shotgun. She has been a resident at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.