Gunner creeps into my room before leaping up and trampling
me under my covers.
He’s a yellow lab with way too much energy
for an eight year old.
I feel the moisture of his nose,
it brushes up against my face.
He lays down and arches his back
so his stomach stretches towards the ceiling.
I rub his tummy
before dozing off again.
The sound rings in my ears like a tintinnabulum.
I am filled with
of roundhousing that dog in the throat for waking me up so suddenly,
but my conscience couldn’t handle acting upon any of those thoughts.
I sit up and rub my grimy eyes,
my mouth feels stale.
I stand up in my tattered room
a grove of soiled clothes stands in my path.
To anyone else it smells like a middle school locker room
without the Axe.
However, I don’t smell a thing.
My legs ferry my dingy body to the bathroom.
Gunner follows me there,
he’s my second pair of footprints.
Gunner is a heroin addict
and I am his dealer.
My eyes inject him with attention.
He spends every waking moment trying to get his fix,
like a street bum spending every dollar on black tar.
I walk down the stairs after doing my business in the bathroom.
Gunner’s tail bangs against the banister
as he runs down.
I slump my way to the back door to let Gunner onto the porch. The door opens and I’m hit with cold air and the smell of the
One of the only glimpses of outside I get
before my day inside the Eastern Mennonite Penitentiary commences.
Gunner knows he will spend the rest of the day alone;
thus begins his