“The Choke Collar” by Amy Wray Irish

Down, girl.  Down.  Don’t pull.
Don’t walk.  Wait at the corner
Until it’s safe. Until I say
It’s safe.  Put this on,
It will keep you safe.

Hush
.  Be still.  Be silent
Until I say speak.  Speak.
Don’t speak.  Here’s a treat.
Beg for it.  Don’t beg.  Don’t whine.
Don’t pull, follow my lead.
Don’t pull and it won’t squeeze.

Don’t stray.  Stay on the path
We always take.  Where its safe.
Where I say it’s safe.  Come away,
It’s not safe.   Come inside.  I said
Come Inside.  It won’t hurt
If you come inside.

You want a walk?  Beg for it.
Bring me the leash.  Bring it.
You’re not safe without a leash.
Careful.  Here’s someone new.
Sit.  Speak.  I said Speak.
But don’t get to friendly.  Good girl.
Here’s a treat.  You’re safe with me.

Come here.  Come.
Don’t make me come over there.
Now beg.  Play dead.
Play dead so you’re safe.
Be still.  Play dead.
If you play dead you’ll be safe.
If you’re quiet and still
I’ll feel safe.  If you play dead
You might be safe.

-*

Amy Wray Irish is obsessed with faerie tales, hung up on health, and in love with mythology.  Originally from the Chicago area, Irish earned her MFA from the University of Notre Dame and then fled the Midwest for the Colorado Rockies.  Irish’s work has been published most recently in The Offbeat (print) and The Mountain Gazette (online).  Her chapbook Creation Stories, which includes both poems and art, is available on Amazon.

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