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It's Nelly's World

Truly, the Worst

alec vanderboom

What can you do when your kind and generous friend has gone beyond the call of duty and cared for your dog for ten whole days--and then said dog pulls the worst stunt of her life? And just how bad was it? Well, it drove the kind friend to poetry. That's how bad.

We stood where you left us
Night all around us. Moonless . . . starless.
Black puddles in the black night . . . didn't see them . . .
freezing feet.
We hate you, Nelly.

But wait! Are you OK? Are you hunting or the hunted?
Jump into a rabbit hole. Faster than a meadow vole.
Greased lightning.
Or have you been killed by a hunter's trap
and I will have to tell your mama.

Oh god, please no.
Oh Nelly . . . naughty, frightful, willful Nelly.
Sexy Nelly . . . Willy's girl
Turn over let him lick your tummy.

Don't do this to us. To your mama.
God, Nelly, I hate you for this.

Faster than a speeding bullet.
Hide from Mama. Hide from Janet.
Craziest bitch that walks the planet.
See? I can rhyme in the face of disaster.
Oh, Nelly! I hate you right now.

I hear a shrill scream in the distance. And why is there no moon
I have no flashlight . . . Is there no god to strike a match in
the heavens?
Ne-e-e-e-e-ly! Nellybelly. Here, Nell
y! Let's go home, OK?
We wait.
We wait hours.
How can I tell Melissa her dog is missing and presumed dead?
Her brain, neon green. Mine is red, aflame with anger, then fear.
Then back to anger again. I need a strong drink.
When I see you, Nelly, I will fuckin
g kill you. Black and White
But wait . . . now I am frightened again. Silence for a long time
. . . miles and miles
of cornfield silence.
Ne-e-e-e-e-ly! Please, honey, pretty

She emerges, as if from a tomb, at 8. Black filthy. No white.
Crusty dirt and rat droppings . . .reeking.
Ah, beautiful Nelly . . . thank th
e doggod she is OK. My baby.

She smells so bad the others stay distant.
We run a bath (twice) and shampoo the tombpoisons away.
Towels . . . more towels. She feels happy now. Black and White

Time for dinner.
My good girl. We love you, Nelly.
Houdini's daughter.

Nelly of our hearts.

--Janet Nelson Harrington

December 2008

evidence photo (c) Andrew Garn

Many thanks to search-and-rescue heroes Andrew; Bonnie with the incomparable Nora and
Malcolm; and (it goes without saying) Janet