Bogdan Dragos

December 08, 1992

a turtle born on the wrong side of its shell

He had a big belly
but he wasn't a fat man
he wished he was a fat man

his daughter was four
and she told him that he
looked like a
turtle
born
on the wrong side of
its shell

and mother laughed.
He didn't.

Surely he would have if the
swelling wasn't a terminal
disease
a type of cancer of the
stomach and guts whose
name he struggled very
hard to
forget
but the regular visits to
the doctor kept reminding him

his wife kept laughing
she said that laughing
is the key
the best healing
Laughter and love
lots and lots of love
Love

but the other night when
he tucked the little girl
in bed and kissed her forehead and
said "I love you."
she poked her tongue at him
and said "I don't! You ugly and weird.
I love mommy and puppy Bran. Good
night." And she put her
head on the pillow and
closed her eyes.

It was I who went to the shelter
and brought puppy Bran home, he though
as he closed the door, tears
blurring his vision
He didn't go into the
bedroom where his wife
was probably asleep

he went into the bathroom
vomited
washed his face
rinsed his mouth
went into the kitchen
and grabbed the leash
went outside
and took puppy Bran
for a walk

the moon lighted their path
and the shadow of his
big, swollen belly
covered all of puppy Bran
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