Current Issue

email this link

Random Haiku Generator
Poem of the Day
Flash Fiction


My Dog Has Epilepsy
by Rosa P. Mozi



She doesn't have many seizures anymore, because of the medication. My lover and I tried the Phenobarbitol, but it made her act weird, so now we're going with Potassium Bromide, which is hard to get. Not many pharmacies will fill the prescription because it's flammable or something.

Most mornings I wake up and worry first about the dog, but today I don't because something else has woken me up. This morning, I swear I'm smelling garlic mashed potatoes. It is like a dream, like looking into the mirror and I'm Catherine Zeta Jones.

I wake up hungry.

For what, I don't know. My appetite is huge and constant, I want whatever I can't have. I take the Potassium Bromide off the bedside table and look at the directions again, always doubting that I've given the dog the right dose.

One pill in the morning and one pill at night, exactly two grams a day, so she won't have a seizure. And I shouldn't worry. I've never gotten it wrong before, but I do worry because one missed pill, or one too many, one too many distractions or one pill delivered but spit out again could mean a seizure or deadly overdose. Four capsules would be lethal to a human.

I keep my eyes closed this morning and imagine how to feed my appetite. I think I might like this, a bath waiting for me with bubbles and candles scented like rain and marigolds. There is a CD playing-- Neil Young's Harvest-- except I'm hearing it for the first time and getting blown away by the fact that I don't have to skip tracks to find a good song. And I'm smelling these garlic mashed potatoes.

I hear my dog scratching along the floor outside my bath, but it's not a seizure, it's not the same rhythm as that, so I know she's fine. And at the edge of the tub I have this little basket with makeup in it and expensive makeup brushes. I look in the mirror and I'm absolutely perfect without makeup, of course I am, I'm Catherine Zeta Jones. My face is rosy and moist from the hot water but I decide to use the fancy brushes to apply lipstick, just because it feels so good to outline the curves of my lips with the expensive brush and I love the sense of touch on my lips, always.

My lover walks into the bathroom. He's just showered and he smells of patchouli and weed. I like the way he has no rhythm to his step, the way he has no nickname for me, how he has grayed, how his smile has become more like mine over the years, how he can never make his clothes match. He sweeps me off to this bed I'm in now, except our bedroom is rust-colored and candle-lit like a Mexican restaurant. He touches and explores and I just stretch out and enjoy it because I am a greedy lover and offer him pleasure only after my own--and it is pleasure. I am soaking in all of the touch until I am full and he knows this about me and he knows I save it up and then unleash myself on him because I take great pleasure in seeing his body quiver and twist at my mercy. The tables turn when he moves his tongue over my nipple and pushes my breasts up toward my mouth, and I follow his tongue with my own, and am unleashed.

But in a parallel universe, I am with the other man I love, because I am hungry, and because I love only him as well. No one knows I love this other man. He doesn't know either as I imagine he's sitting here in my room, singing along to classical music and concerned about how far his stomach hangs over his belt. I tell him I've noticed he can't seem to keep his hair combed and invite him over to help smooth it. It doesn't smooth and we both giggle, and he says he worries he falls in love too easily, and I say I don't mind. His touch is gentle and awkward. All the while, he is talking, about bad television, and I laugh when he talks with all seriousness about Three's Company or Alf, and he finds out I don't laugh, I snort, and he doesn't mind. I find out other things about him, like how he talks with his hands, isn't good at sharing, thinks he's stupid about literature and fresh vegetables and foreplay. And I can tell he's hiding something: a small penis, a hair piece, a removable arm. He believes I wouldn't love him as much if I knew what it was. So I care for him gently because he is tender and unsure with me. I kiss his face slowly, the jawline, the chin, the eyelids, the corner of his mouth. And I stop and look at him and then kiss him slowly and stand back and look again. He lets me love all of him, even the hidden part. I say his name and feel like I've been bottling it in, so now it comes bursting out of me. I whisper it and shout it and my legs shake to finally release the secret.

Only here can I let him hold me, can I imagine that he would want to hold me. We savor this last moment together before the day starts, naked and crazy with this growing smell of warm garlic.

But the morning light comes in through the curtain, and I realize I'm lying here with two lovely men. And with no one at all.

My lover's arms hold me anyway. It's the way he treats everyone, even our epileptic dog. When there's a seizure and our dog is kicking and foaming and her bowels let loose, this man speaks in his soft voice while I get the old towels we keep by the bed just for this purpose and soak up the mess. My lover is the one who holds our dog. He holds her while she's kicking, and says, "I'm right here. It's all right." We both pet her very softly and slowly until she stops kicking, until she stops vomiting. We stroke her fur, my man still whispering to her almost as if to me, "There you go, you're coming back now, there you are, that's it," all the while helping me clean up the carpet and watching her eyes for her to return.

Our dog is fine this morning. She's curled in her bed. And I'm curled with my back warmed by my lover's chest. Lying here, I realize he has just said something that has pulled me back here. I don't know what it is he's said and I don't want him to know I haven't been listening, so I don't ask. Instead I sigh softly and deeply, letting the dream out through my breath. He curls around me and says I'm beautiful and he wants to be inside of me. And I start crying, not because of anything really, just that he's the only one I can cry with. And he knows this about me, that I never know why I'm crying; he knows not to ask. He just holds me. So tight I know I can't fall away. And he sings a song very softly. Something I may recognize later. His voice is off-key, but he just keeps singing and holding me. It makes me think I could be moved by simple things-- like the color of a raindrop on the hood of a Corvette, or the ring of white around a man's finger when he slips off his ring, or life inside this body instead of inside this room, this house, this world.

My lover asks, and this time I hear him, if maybe I could skip the Wheat Chex this morning, if he could do something a little weird and make garlic mashed potatoes while I have a bath. He's already cooking them, he says, he got started while I was asleep with the corny smile on my face. I watch him go into the bathroom and fill the tub, just a little too hot, the way I like it. He adds the bubbles that smell like sunflowers. I'm breathing in the garlic, feeling the warmth of the sun, hearing the sound of running water. My limbs are blissfully heavy and I'm not ready to get out of bed yet. While he's gone I think perhaps I'll take the dog's dose of Potassium Bromide, to stay here, to stay in one place. But I don't take the medicine, and when he returns to check on me he says, "Don't go anywhere, I'll just be downstairs," the smile on his face full of doubt and wonder and knowledge that steals my breath. Would my other lover make me mashed potatoes for breakfast? No, because he can't make anything but omelets without cooking it in the microwave, but he would know me as well, would remind me just like this to stay where I am, would kiss me on the forehead and go downstairs to telephone an order for bagels and flowers and coffee from the market, and bring it all up to me and we'd lay here in bed. And here he would know what my lover already knows. I'm not so wonderful. And sometimes, now, I'm not quite here, dog hair on my pajamas, not looking like Catherine Zeta Jones at all. I lie here and watch both men I love go off together to make the house smell like warm garlic, like marigolds, like sunshine.

The dog puts her muzzle up on the bed and I watch her eyes. I wonder if she knows how difficult she is to care for, if she is ashamed after the seizures when she tries to walk around on her cramped legs but keeps falling. I cup my hand under her muzzle and she licks my wrist. The look in her eyes doesn't say any of that. All I see is that she loves me and wants me to love her back, high maintenance or not. All the salt must be washed off my wrist, but she keeps licking anyway, and I let her do it as if this was what I was hungry for all along.




About the Author


I live in my car, but I save for things like fresh croissants, star fruit, Lucky Strikes and this Converse All-Star tattoo I have on my ankle. The thing I miss most since I lost my apartment, besides my ex, is the VH1 Where Are They Now series, which probably says something about why I never go very far in life. I spend most days at the library. When I'm not working the front desk, I'm either at the computer cluster, or just outside, smoking over Dickens and Dostoyevsky. If I were smart, I would go into Library Science, which maybe I will, but I dream of going to school for a degree in Creative Writing.