A Chihuahua puppy, they called her,
her teeth a bit too sharp, eyes
a bit too hungry, fur like choppy waves.
They didn’t make me fill out paperwork
to bring her home with me,
even sign my name, and I thanked them.

We cycled through fifteen types of dog food
before we found one she liked. Finally,
the pet store employees ripped open bags
with razor blades. Their only request:
if they found one she would eat, I’d never
ever bring her back there, please please.
We settled on an expensive kibble,
grain-free, lamb-based.

As she got larger, she got hungrier,
but no matter how much she ate,
her spine still protruded from her back,
and she growled from somewhere deep
inside herself, deeper than her throat.

On walks, she is completely silent,
but her eyes move frantically,
and her head swivels side to side.

The apartment smells like rotting dishes
left in the sink, like a swamp, like uncooked steaks.
I think it’s coming from beneath the floorboards.

I do not pull them up.


Mackenzie Bush lives in Grand Rapids, MI. She likes haunted locations and blue nail polish. Her work has appeared or is forthcoming in What Fresh Witch Is This?, The NW, and Spectral Lines: Poems about Scientists.