Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1
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When he arrives, my husband is outside
sweeping mats of thin leaves. Inside, I wax
the front table with a woolen cloth. The Badger
follows my husband in. A cock crows. My
husband hands me the riding crop and I make
our guest crawl; he takes my foot and places
it on his own neck, but it’s not as degrading
as we’d all like, so I make him stand
upright, pace the stairs. I ride
his shoulders. He must skip the loudest
steps, reciting his last conversation
with his physician. You’re smiling, are you?
I say to him. Smiling at your rider? You
recognize her human hand, gentle but firm? He smells
like a nursing home, and that nose . . . he could
cut gruyère with that nose. He is, after all,
an animal whose traveling, regardless
of circumstance, looks not courageous but
mildly eccentric. Still, we have a good time.  end

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