The Peter Pan Prize
The unpredictability of that bitch Gypsy,
we blamed her, didn’t we? Attached from pulley
to cable, limited by wire stretched from tree
to house post, pacing back and forth under the Chinese
mulberry tree, she was trouble when in heat.
Mother whistled shrill through her fingers,
but they’d fight without pause. Running
with the pitcher, pouring tea on their heads,
male and female snarling snapping nearly
to the death. For Gypsy, near tear-aparts,
trips to the vet, stitches, scars.
Tonight I smell fear and fury, the sweat,
the wet dogs. I witness behind my eyes
the girl I was, who heard behind
all closed doors, even when at the piano
playing scales, the blotted out scenes from the night
before, the way parents went at each other,
a blur of teeth and fur, blood
rubbed into earth.