pawDream Dog

by Kristy Webster

These kisses happen in my dreams with men I haven’t met, who maybe don’t exist at all. Though from everything I’ve read, our dreams can’t create fictitious people. Last night while kissing one of these men our bodies joined at the lips but the rest of our bodies disassembled—a leg floated out the window, a buttocks and a torso rolled into the backseat. Our mouths sucked so hard eventually that was all that was left, just our lips and teeth and tongues as the rest of us disappeared. We did not miss our other parts. Not a bit. 

I have been looking for a dog. Before the kissing dreams, I had dog dreams. Like the men, the dog may or may not exist. But I dreamed so many dreams about that same dog I am convinced that the dog not only exists but the dog is calling me. I’ve scoured Craigslist logging several hours at work each day. I am looking for a dog on the edge of human, a dog who wants to speak, a dog who knows I am the only one. 

Cats moan outside my window while the computer screen echoes off my face, my tired eyes. Dogs consume me. Not only my dog, my dream dog, but after hundreds of hours of searching, I feel all dogs are calling me. I can’t, I whisper, I can’t take you all. 

This time I cry before the man kisses me because he is so tender. We are enveloped by a warm sphere of light, the bed unfamiliar and soft. He tells me I write what I’m too afraid to speak out loud. A dog barks. A new light wakes me. My face has yet to dry. 

Four dogs stare up at me, heads tilted, wondering how I manage—so bald, so raw and open. I want so much. All they want is to be fed. 

All four dogs are ones I was once convinced were my dream dog. But when I brought them home, once I let them on my bed or fed them scraps from my take-out boxes, I came to realize that they were not it. I have found my dogs in overcrowded shelters, Craigslist ads—MOVING CAN’T TAKE SCRAPPY WITH—even tied to fence posts with signs reading “FREE”, but nothing is free, not even love. Most of all love. Let alone dreams. 

It happens the first night of my period. A howl. The dirt smells richer when I bleed. The nights are restless, sometimes the tears are unstoppable and not even the embarrassments of late night talk shows drown them out. The howl is more primal than that of a dog. The howl grows stronger and closer and I know. I understand. But curled up in sheets, soaked with red, my fear is hot and scorching. I don’t answer the door. I can’t answer the call. 

A neighborhood child I’ve always found bothersome is wailing. I cover my gory scene in a fat robe and wander out, half dazed. The mother grabs her child, forces his wet face against her breasts. A dog is dead. Demolished by a careless driver. The dog lays bloody in the middle of the road. My dream dog murdered because of my fear. I am a careless dreamer. 

This kiss is just as potent but less tender. The teeth are ruthless, the tongue is dangerous and weird. Black. Cold. I wake up mid-climax, my four dogs, whining along the bedside. They only want to be fed.

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Kristy Webster once directed Al Gore toward a public restroom; he was wearing khaki shorts and had nice legs. She also writes.
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