I dig a hole in the backyard.

Grass stains my hands

as I bury all my simple treasures;

words and ribbons and bones.

I pray that you won’t find them

as I wait for night to fall

so I can dig them out frantically,

lay them out one by one to admire with fervent joy.

I wait for you as the sun rises,

hiding my hands—mud covered,

sitting, fetching, adoring you

all for a simple pat on the head.

Loyal, they call me, devoted, they call me

but they don’t really know the truth:

The chain you’ve wrapped around my neck

and yank when I don’t follow command.

To play dead, if only for that luxury,

to bury myself within my treasures

the secrets I hold to keep me sane

and prevent my mouth from frothing white.

But to ignore your demands would only be futile,

to bite or growl or bare my teeth

would bring me to the sterile cold metal table

where a single needle would do the job.

I grow tired and wearisome,

old and haggard from sitting pretty for treats.

you replace me before I’m even gone,

a pretty new pup with a silken bow.

Your eyes light up when she is near

and I am just the background, the comfort, the usual.

I’m the hair on the couch and the piss on the floor,

though I still try to please, I’m long forgotten. Already dead.

You’ll bury me in a cardboard box

with a nearby stick to mark my place.

I will fade away with the autumn wind,

only to be remembered by the stains on the carpet.