For the truly good ask not the naked, ‘Where is your garment?’ nor the houseless, ‘What has befallen your house?’ -Kahlil Gibran

A three-legged
dog begs for more
attention than the standard
four-legged version. Strangers shout
What happened to it? from a pick-up
stopped in traffic, freedom
in inter-species curiosity. (Wait at least a year before asking
a friend’s one-armed husband what
befell the other limb).

The tri-pod cur is an ice-breaker, an
invitation for commiseration, audible
sighs, a head tilt and stifled amusement
at the impossible stilling of a
quivering stub when the tummy’s rubbed. The
disabled dog you did not
birth confers a measure
of undeserved
saintliness, makes you a Mother
Teresa to the canine world.

(No one can see you dragging the limp lump along the cracked concrete like a burlap sack of Russets on leash because the bitch refuses to even try anymore).

All are missing pieces
only not as obvious as
the dog with one
leg gone.

That’s why the fellow with the shopping cart on Bayshore was able
to confess, “I wish that we could get to know each other
and go recycling

Anita Cabrera’s work has appeared in The Berkeley Fiction Review, The Berkeley Poetry Review, Brain, Child Magazine, Acento Review, and Colere and often explores the themes of addiction and parenthood, urban wildlife, and hope in the face of futility. She teaches at San Francisco State University, and dances and sings on an amateur level around San Francisco, where she lives with her partner and sons.