Each Morning

Will Musgrove

            Each morning, I let my dog out.

She whines by the door. When I get off the couch, she spins in a circle. We go outside. I hook her collar to a leash that’s connected to a wire that’s connected between two trees. My lawn’s spacious with lots of things to sniff. She bolts off the stoop. She glances back at me. I’m static. She’s kinetic. When she realizes I’m not coming, she transforms into a rocket, back and forth, choking herself to catch a squirrel or a stick or a breeze.

            Each morning, I let my dog out.

I hear barking. Thinking of the neighbors, I peek through the blinds. She’s wrapped around a tree. I go back outside. She untangles herself and brings me her frisbee. I tug the disc from her maw and give it a hurl. When she skips back, instinctively shaking life from plastic, I’m again an eye between two blinds.

            Each morning, I let my dog out.

She’s quiet. I put my ear to the wall. Nothing but chewing termites. This time I raise the blinds. Her leash stretches around the house, so I can’t tell if she’s still attached. I rush outside and find an empty collar. Woof. My dog is standing on the stoop. I step toward her, and she retreats inside. I holler. I pace. I scratch at the door. But she won’t come save me.

            Each morning, my dog lets me out.

I pluck grass. I draw figures in the clouds. Curled in a ball, I nap under the sun. I shout obscenities at the neighbors whenever they hop into their cars to leave. I run back and forth, choking myself, knowing—no, hoping—one day I’ll go somewhere free of leashes, wires, and collars.

Will Musgrove is a writer and journalist from Northwest Iowa. He received an MFA from Minnesota State University, Mankato. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Versification, Unstamatic, (mac)ro(mic), Ghost Parachute, Serotonin, Rabid Oak, Flash Frontier, and elsewhere. Follow him on Twitter (@Will_Musgrove).