Holly the collie was rescued from the churchyard gully
she’d been trapped in for nearly a month, her eyes
blind behind infected crust, her stomach a pouch
drawn shut against hunger, half her weight
starved off her ribs. When they lifted her out,
her bones jangled like the pipes of a windchime.
Look what you’ve done to yourself,
the vet cooed, opening her eyes’ grimy caskets.
They slopped meaty paste in her dish, but Holly
couldn’t swallow-- even the taste hurt her.
They set her on the scale but her claws slipped away
from the stainless steel, and she felt herself falling
back to the skintight gully that had held her so safely
and for so long.
-- A graduate of Oregon State University's MFA program, Rita Feinstein is based in Washington, DC, where she teaches creative writing to kids and teens. She is the author of two poetry collections, LIFE ON DODGE and EVERYTHING IS REAL, both from Brain Mill Press, and a young adult novel forthcoming from Page Street. Her stories and poems have appeared in Permafrost, Grist, and Willow Springs, among other publications, and have been nominated for Best of the Net and Best New Poets. She lives with her husband, who is a lawyer, and her dog, who is not.