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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 3, September 2014

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Doris Lynch
Bloomington, Indiana, USA


Shiloh, Taos Dog

There is something about this wild yellow dog that calls to me. It’s partially how he moves in the world—confident that he owns the piñon, chamisa, and sagebrush, but also because he seems to have decoded us humans, respects our voices, fears our hands, skedaddles when we call him, sidles next to us when we least want him near. I name the dog Shiloh because he knows death and contains it.

Shiloh flits among the feeding ravens and holds his tongue. He bares his teeth to the magpies. At skunks, he flicks his half-amputated tail. Shiloh paces over the prairie dog dens. Back and forth, he patrols them, pounding his paws down. He squeezes between barbed wire and crosses the palomino’s field, noting her three-stockinged legs. Barking twice, as though to ask, where’s the missing one?

Only once do I see Shiloh at night, hurrying from the cemetery where they buried Kit Carson. Under moonlight, I catch his indifferent stare. He leans toward me, curling his mouth slightly then rambunctiously darts away.

day of the dead
an apple crowns each grave—
single echo howls

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