Our dog bit Margie Buskirk, our dearest
and oldest friend, on the walk between Mom’s
petunias, a dark shadow at her heels, on her
leg, right there, five feet from our front door.
A curly, black mop, portions of poodle
and cocker spaniel, too loyal, too particular,
too eager to judge with teeth, we didn’t know
this about Sammy. His story was vague as was
how we came by Smokey’s replacement.
Too quick, I couldn’t catch him alone, Mom,
asleep behind her door again, Dad on the phone,
not-to-be-bothered, yet another client, a pitch,
a sale. Margie’s expression was a withering
reproach, as if I were accountable for, as if I
could govern, these circumstances. (Goddammit,
I was just a kid.) Unsteady at that moment, I felt
the fault slip, one more augury of our anxiety.
Soon after the bite, reliable friends stopped
coming around – no New Year’s party, no
camping trips. We didn’t drive Sammy
to the pound when it all came apart,
when it was too late to matter.

David Sapp is a writer, artist and professor. He is a 2018 Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award grant recipient for poetry. He is published in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. His publications include chapbooks, Close to Home and Two Buddha; and a novel, Flying Over Erie.