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  • Patrick Johnson

18: Secondhand Sin

we had this stray dog

that had three working legs

come to our place and stay

for over a year


then she became pregnant

and her litter was healthy

but they didn't want her

or them anymore


so they gathered them up

in a black metal box

that sat in the middle

of my father's truck bed


I wanted to go

say goodbye

though I didn't

think we should


I said my goodbye

with a hug and whimper

on the side of a road

with the Licking River alongside

the puppies in the box

and the mother standing beside it

as we drove away


I was convinced

looking through the window

though he told me not to

that he and I were bound

for hell


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