there have always been a dog in our home. licking hands
under the table, teaching me how to beg.
only males under my mother’s thumb are allowed in the bedroom.
my dad wears an invisible collar, i have seen him take it off.
he leaves for work proudly and submissive with it’s heavy lock
on, the metal have been polished with his teeth.
i walk on all fours to show her i can be trusted, my fur
matted and knotted up. her harsh brushstrokes feels like
loving hands.
she braids dead skin into open mouth, my tail cut to a stump,
i dipped my head in blood to show her i was hers.

i won’t be replaced by another dog, i was born to be
disciplined, whipped into her image. she gave me a shock collar
in vibrant pink and told me not to cross the line from
our house to the other side. i wait on the curb her hand
on my neck, i was born to be disciplined

born from her lap, i have her flesh under my finger nails
and her skin to match. her anger have been passed on
yet the dogs are silent. screams sounds like barks when
i clip my tongue.

it’s easier to drown a pup than a child, but with tighter strings
noose and nails, any river will welcome children to foster

with its barren sides.