“Still” by Clare Needham

I no longer have the dream
where I am forced

to commit murder, slice a dog
in half, reassure its trembling

fur, its anxious eyes that I 
will do it clean, by running a 

sharp knife fast along its length.
Though each time I trembled

with the dog, said do not be

                      for us both.

Instead I now find
the dog in two pieces

split in half but still
alive, and it is my task

to glue her back. I 
take my time, I do it

almost perfect. The dog
is healed, is whole, yet

I haven’t aligned her
right, one back leg

is too high; she limps
slightly, moves

— haltingly —


Clare Needham is the author of the novella Bad Books, published by Ploughshares Solos in 2015. Her work has appeared in New York TyrantCatapult, Bodega Magazine, Fiction Attic Press, and Armchair/Shotgun. She has been a resident at Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Vermont Studio Center, and the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts.