On the Record

by Jessica L. Walsh

I say it must be coming for us
because I don’t see it coming for us.
I look at the dog’s picture from 3 years back
and find an old, old beast,
tired of delivering to us his loads of love.
He greys and whitens, mats and tufts.
How exhausted he is,
and how greedy I am not to see it,
urging him on to and on to August
when he was ready that April,
the same month a doctor felt my husband’s neck and frowned.
I turn to his picture and from here I see
swelling, the push in and out of tumors
that had grown for years, perhaps a decade,
but when I’d pressed my lips to his neck and lingered,
I felt only desire, never disease.
Each day now I say we are fine.
Let the record show I believed it
and knew all along I was wrong.

Jessica L. Walsh is the author of two poetry collections, most recently The List of Last Tries, and two chapbooks. Her work has appeared in RHINO, Ninth Letter, Sundog Lit, and more. She is a community college professor outside of Chicago but a native of rural Michigan. Stella Bellow is an illustrator currently attending Parsons School of Design in New York City.

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