I’m there that day you send the last away
with nipping needle teeth, she may outgrow
one day — the half-hearted sobriquet
uttered as you latch her last leash then go.
She was the favored younger child
who never returned, I know, because she growled
and made you bleed, transmogrified wild
by desperate need. She recedes, uncowed,
from your conditioned world where I live on,
the educated girl determined, even
when disciplined, that my denouement
will find me licking at your feet again
while you ponder whether you have grown cruel.
It is a word unlearned at obedience school.
Kristin Garth is a Pushcart, Rhysling nominated sonneteer and a Best of the Net 2020 finalist. Her sonnets have stalked journals like Glass, Yes, Five:2:One, Luna Luna and more. She is the author of 21 books of poetry including Crow Carriage (Sweet Tooth Story Books) and The Stakes (Really Serious Literature) and the editor of seven anthologies. She is the founder of Pink Plastic House a tiny journal and co-founder of Performance Anxiety, an online poetry reading series. Follow her on Twitter: (@lolaandjolie) and her website kristingarth.com