The Beginning of the End

By Vivian Wagner

We’d taken our dog, shivering and chocolate-poisoned,
to the emergency room, where they administered
calming medicine and IV fluid. He watched us,
his eyes both bright and cocoa-dark.

It was that kind of year, a year of fallings and
failings, starting with Bowie’s death and ending
with a thousand apocalypses, some already begun,
some waiting in whatever wings still flew.

Returning home, my daughter and I got pho,
its broth steaming in unnaturally warm winter air.
Skirting climate change, we remarked, in thick-
twisting traffic, on the sun’s blinding beauty.

Dog hair covered our sweatshirts and car seats,
floated in the air, catching light,
a testament to the abundance of loss,
to all that we leave behind.

I don’t know how we’ll survive,
but maybe it’ll look something like this:
an indigo sky, a daughter’s smile, and
a dog curled in trusting and hopeful sleep.


Vivian Wagner- headshot - color

VIVIAN WAGNER lives in New Concord, Ohio, where she teaches English at Muskingum University.

Back to Issue 9.02