than she was when she got me. It happened sort of slowly like the way time passes from cold to cold,
but it also happened fast sometimes like the flick of a tennis ball out of a hand and across the yard
or like when we drive through the mountains and we go in one side and fly through the stillness
and the fake lights and come out on the other side where the smells are different.
Lots of times my human was alone.
Not really by herself, but on the inside
and it was just me and her on the kitchen floor or in the corner of the bathroom
when she was scared and her face got all wet and she whispered the word sorry to me which is the word
humans use when they wish to go backwards.
Sometimes it was crashing and sometimes the air smelled still
but really it was moving in ripples so fast I got dizzy and just stayed quiet and lay on my bed.
The other human we lived with never liked me. It got me treats to make my human happy, but really
it just wanted my human all to itself. The place we all lived together was right by a big park.
My human and I would walk at night and squeeze through a fence and sit on the cool hard ground
of the tennis courts and my human would look up at the sky. Sometimes she would kiss between my eyes
and tell me I was a good boy.
My human was always like hair raised on shoulder blades and smelled like the back of a knee or the taste
of a bitter grape from the plant in the alley. Sometimes glass would shatter and tiny pieces would get
stuck in my paws. Sometimes my human would scream and pound on the floor and pull on her face and
make red lines on her legs with sharp metal and I would lick the penny tasting blood.
We are safe now.
Now my human smells like campfire smoke stuck to clothes and the wooshing air that’s dissolving
and the inside of a new blade of grass.
Her other humans come over and they are loud and gasp for air in the good way called laughing
and I never feel afraid anymore.
that she knows
that I was there for everything, that I felt the world moving even when the humans couldn’t feel it
and that in the morning when she rises
I’ll be at her feet
ready for my walk.
Katherine Page is a writer and elementary school teacher living in Leadville, Colorado. She has had her work published in Bluestem, Open Minds Quarterly, and Macalester College’s Chanter Magazine.