October. They’re out walking in the cornfield
of a friend’s farm. The dry husks crackle
as they pass. The six-year-old daughter’s afraid
of a dog they’ve seen in the distance, inscribing a circle
around them, its barks flapping in the wind like crows.
A warm, bright day. The sun is lighting its fires
in the oak trees. Bees hum home. The father knows
his daughter’s fears are groundless, and her tears
annoy him. The dog won’t hurt you, he says, it’s miles
away and it’s a nice dog. His daughter clings
to his pants and tires to stop crying. Smiles.
The dog moves in like a sudden wind storm, springs
at her, its mouth full of betrayal, full of lies.
She stares up at her father with horrified eyes.