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Once during that year when all I wanted was to be anything other than what I was, the dog took my wrist in her jaws. Not to hurt or startle, but the way a wolf might, closing her mouth over the leg of another from her pack.

Claiming me like anything else: the round luck of her supper dish or the bliss of rabbits, their infinite grassy cities. Her lips and teeth circled and pressed, tireless pressure of the world  that pushes against you to see if you’re there, and I could feel myself inside myself again, muscle to bone to the slippery core where I knew next to nothing about love.

She wrapped my arm as a woman might wrap her hand through the loop of a leash—as if she were the one holding me at the edge of a busy street, instructing me to stay.

“Claim” by Kasey Jueds, from Keeper.

© University of Pittsburgh Press, 2013.

Gifted to me by my friend Celsius1414. Who knows and understands how I love and have been willingly claimed by my precious pups.

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