As A Fire Blazes in The Notre-Dame Cathedral

OTTAVIA PALUCH

1

My dog dies on a Sunday, July's rain

a muzzle around my heart. At night I dream

about the trails behind my house where we

weaved in and out of trees, bellies

hanging & knees scabbed. This poem is

 

about life. I know. My spittooned dog. God.

In the beginning, all the world was America*

so I lie still on her tracks, wait for the talons

to sink into steel. My bones sold for a carton

of milk. My face washed ashore on this desert

 

of the most golden grain. Good citizen

with the right features, only the wrong

eyes. Wrong name. But I want to say he loved

me anyway. My dog, I mean, the one

who drowned in sand. My mother tells me

 

to follow my dog's tango, tangle with our flag

until all the poppies drop. By morning, stoplights

stuck on red & the roads splitting themselves

open for the next super bloom. Look

how quickly I learn. I promise I can be better

 

than this city’s exhaust, better than the letters

pillaging the fields, all the right ones for god

& the wrong ones for myself: dog, immigrant,

god, god I love how good you are to me.

*From Two Treatises of Government by John Locke

OTTAVIA PALUCH is a disabled high school student who lives in Ontario, Canada. A Gigantic Sequins Teen Sequin in 2018, her work is published or forthcoming in Four Way Review, Kissing Dynamite, Room Magazine, Alexandria Quarterly, and Ghost City Review, among other places. Paluch has studied poetry under Jessica Lynn Suchon during the 2019 Adroit Journal Summer Mentorship Program, as well as under Matt Mitchell during Flypaper Lit’s 2020 workshop on poetic forms.

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