An ache runs down the middle of the house
(the middle of the bed) an invisible shifting
seam we do not speak of when we talk about
antibiotics fed to chickens, Pakistan’s powder-keg,
the threat of a duly angered atom. The house shifts
on its concrete feet: we bear up and take the stairs
one-at-a-time. I dream of feathered Pakistanis,
bald chickens going door-to-door like Jehovah
Witnesses gone on nudist parade. Silence, the old
emollient, slips in between us; makes up the difference
and we wake into a gentler morning, a steadied house,
a fallout of white feathers, centrifugal around the bed.
Dirt trail circling an old maple
ten foot chain wrapping the trunk,
rubbing away the bark, exposing the tender meat inside.
Battered plastic igloo, open on one side
hot in summer, cold in winter ... still, it’s dry.
Choke collar on to restrain, and to serve
as a reminder of who’s boss.
Metal bowl for water-
sometimes holding ice, dirt, leaves, bugs –
or nothing at all.
Scattered kibble on the ground
mixed with dirt and grass
shared with ants, birds, squirrels,
but barely enough for one.
Life all around
chirping, scampering, buzzing, biting
but always just out of reach.
The sun controlling
The moon consoling
The seasons rolling on and on
The tree. The dog.
The endless monotony of days ...
Mid Rivers Review is an annual publication of St. Charles Community College. Writers are welcome to submit original unpublished poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction and artistic photos from October through January.
See a complete list of submission guidelines at www.stchas.edu/midriversreview.