Bark‘ … The dog barks like mad. She shouts like a lunatic. He mouths off insensible verbs. The clock on the wall ticks away its invisible seconds. The TV reflects almost-nude island castaways. Britney Spears on the radio belts out the strong points of being stronger. A car screeches outside on the street. The throbbing in my head pinches the eyes shut with pain. Fists fly in the air. Blood splatters on the floor. The crying and the swearing cramp the air inside the room. I feign indifference beyond my own fear. The dog barks at me then turns still and wags its tail as it sees me taking out its bowl and putting food in it. She tells him to fuck off. He tells her to fuck off. The dog looks at me then eats its food frantically. The dog barks and at least I understand why. He and she bite each other’s heads off. I watch the dog finish off the last shreds of meat. The dog scoots out through the kitchen door, but not after barking at the warring parties and turning to take one last look at me. Standing there, just watching me, studying it. It scampers off to the backyard. The dog barks again. I stand behind the kitchen door, understanding its need to sound off, but failing to grasp the war in our midst. I restrain myself not to bark like the dog. I watch it play with its shadow in the sun. All I can hear in my head is its howling. It is almost comforting. Caring. Knowing.

© 2016 Ramon Loyola




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