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It's Nelly's World

You (or at Least Three of You) Asked for It

alec vanderboom

Stopping the Dog's Heart

The time chosen, it happened, was sunset.
Gathered around, we, your human cadre.
Pistachios, cake, mountain over there.
The doctor arrived late--harried, contrite, polite--
on a motorbike.
You had started to stand. Tufts of your hair,
loosed by pairs of moving hands,
blew over the lawn like summer snow.
It was time. How long had you known what
that hole was there for, divested of its rocky contents
and waiting; when once more filled up and quiet,
a place with a royal view for one whose eyes
no longer could see.
You accepted everything that was given to you: pat, salt
tears on your head, bits of bread. Tourniquet.
Held in a lap, legs stiff, you watched. The vista never changed.
The breeze blew, and of course a hawk was spied. Up, go up,
he said--You're free.
The agent was pink liquid. The angel that bore you away had
arrived on wings of science, the long great study of anatomy and
It will burn a bit, he'd said.

Melissa Holbrook Pierson