Poem by Deanie Vallone

August 15, 2023

Dog Days

He’s a dog’s gnarled tooth and I’m the hand
that fed him. I knew this dog bit when I took
him in, but why do we always feed the mouth

that turns on us? I scratch that query into
the inside cover of my Bible and down the last
of last month’s open cabernet. The air

is ripe with someone else’s fruit; it’s acid
on my skin. I try conjuring what this other
woman looks like—apple blonde, collarbones

like a crucifixion. She knows how to snap
a leash. I bite the edge of my glass and wonder
if that’s what it’s like when their teeth touch.

He leaves plum-mouthed Os on her
skin like wine stains on rice-thin pages.
I can only imagine the shades it fades to

over time. I fill myself with tannins and the
Pentateuch, wonder where it all went wrong.
At night in bed I make out with my closed

fist, bite my knuckle until it bleeds. It
tastes like young money, like fury, like her
laugh, like something other than myself.

About Deanie Vallone

Deanie Vallone is a writer and theater-maker based in Wisconsin. Her writing can be found in The Wisconsin Review, Booth, Sundog Lit, and other publications, and is forthcoming in Vocivia Magazine. When not writing, she brews beer and trains birds of prey (though not at the same time, for safety reasons). She received her MA from the University of Cambridge.

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