Two Husbands, a Cat, and Some Dogs
Brandy McKenzie


The dog’s eaten soap from the garbage & so
I’m at home, waiting, watching her for signs.
Of what? The universe gone wrong, or right,
I guess: she’ll let me know when she needs
sunlight and soft grass. Of course, she sets me right.
I know I’m supposed to be here, I must
pick her blue marl hair by hair from my sweater,
counting. Obsessions: nothing is free from animals
here. Nothing is free from the signs of their love
and passings. One dog and one cat left;
they tolerate each other like siblings. I made
a mistake yesterday: I referred to “my marriage”
on the phone to my husband. My new husband.
My old marriage. I try to explain these things:
how an idea grows so large, so dark, that when you escape
it hovers like a monster above your world.
This is not that marriage. He is not him.
The last of that past was a dog, too: big and black
and solemn with love. That dog watched as we all
peeled away. He saw me into the arms
of this new husband and then dislodged
himself from this world. This blue dog, the soap eater,
is of today’s spouse. Dogs knitted to men
like pockets or cuffs. She can’t stop devouring
the world, and all those things that scrub it clean.