The Maynard
Spring 2015

Marie-Andree Auclair

The Insidious Susurration of Mongrels

Before I refined fear’s fetters
into protective hands
and memory tightened my leash

there was the hell breath
of mongrels dogging me
fangs, nails in my ankles
       to the edge of the cliff
       —do not soar—
       to the borderline
       —do not cross—
       —stay put, look no farther—

the shouts, the whispers.
Beware, you don’t know
what comes next.
Our warnings—
You’ll get hurt, maimed, shamed.
Stay safe.
What if you fail, what if
and then what?

And we stick to you
since you feed us.
Hesitation is our nectar
and shivers of recoil our lifeblood.
That sense of futility?
Our daily meat.

We barked doubts
at you
till you
tighten your own tethers
there is always the chance
you’ll abandon us
to our sooty smoke
and taste a bright sky.