Shame and Something Else

Teresa Scollon

Someone shot the beagle at close range

          with a crossbow, the arrow stuck crosswise

                     through its body, just under the spine.

          But a boy found the dog stumbling in the woods

                     and brought it in, worked off the vet bill in barter.

          Someone left the cattle to starve in the barn,

standing locked in their stanchions. Someone

          gave the six-pound puppy a good quart of beer

                     for fun. A cat prowled the barn

                               with a loop of intestine hanging out.

                                          Someone left the dachshund in the cold garage

                     for three days, trying to birth its dead pup,

                                          until the stink could not be ignored.

                               Someone put out poison, aimed his truck at the turtle in the road.

                                          Someone beat the draft horse with a loose board

                                                         ripped off the fence in anger.

                                              An angry guard shoves a ragged letter under a cell door.

                                                                             But the letter comes. Someone’s

                                                         ears are filled with the speech of birds. Someone

                                          dreams of flying. Someone shows another

                                                   how to bathe a child. A small dog snoozes

                                          in the sun beside a door. Someone stands

                                                   in the yard shading her eyes with a hand, counting

                                          birds. Someone tries to patch

                                                   things up. For shame. For something else.

                     Someone holds the door. Someone

                                          takes a piece of paper, carefully

                                                   picks up a spider, sets it outside.

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