Let Sleeping Dogs Sleep

You and I lie in bed quietly. The dead dog is between us like a double-edged sword. I cannot turn 
to you without cutting my body in half. Your arm is resting gently across my chest, both of mine 
folded in a knot, an elbow jabbed into your diaphragm. How do you mend a hole when you are out
of thread? His head is oddly out of place, turned just a tad too far, resting on a dark red peony 
that stretches its petals quickly to soften his sleep. The blood oozes through my eyes and his. The 
children’s faces have drained, too. The guttural yelp of our son joins mine – too heavy to fly up into 
the silenced sky. 
Space has turned into a chain of still shots: our daughter’s eyes like startled birds, the dark shadow 
on your shuddered face, his life-less body on the road, an old oak tree with an empty swing, my 
heaving chest protecting the boy’s distorted face from the truth, all motionless in the colorless Jell-
O of hot humid air. 
Then it hits. A freight train rushes through my mind breaking doors and windows, things taken for 
granted, yes’s instead of no’s, no’s instead of yes’s. You want to stop that train, but it is gone in 
circles without brakes. Unfinished business is finished, now. I want to smash my face against the 
fence we never built, turn back time or wake up in the future when I am old and happy and almost 
dead.   

Lilia Joy

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