we pick up a stray puppy on the side of the road,
invite her in, call her

for the first two weeks she
roams ‘free’ in our flat – that
palace in vasantnagar that has
hot water, crisp rotis,
sometimes –

the islands of piss on the floor:
those chocolate landmines we tip-toe around
that tear in the fabric,
that missing left sock,
prove it.

we bought a leash the other day
wrapped it around her neck
called her lucky.

(that night i heard her whimper as she
negotiated the feeling of man on her throat,
that taste of freedom gone

yesterday she stopped protesting:
and followed our lead, our tug, our leash
(it must have been the treats)

so i’ve been thinking about how it all works:

still remember the flavor
of your tongue on my neck
how it gnaws there
in that place where i tried to
turn away from you

those whispered words,
tufts of hair ,
wet spots on the sheets:
the treats that keep us

and we become domesticated
into love:
your kiss, this leash:
what is the difference?

and lucky:
we are forgetting that
stray dog freedom
the feeling of our bodies
divorced from
metal, separated from

and i cannot blame you for
always coming back
because we have been trained
in the logic of survival
how we cling to bodies and
allow them to crawl inside of us
and cage our beating hearts.

so pee on my floor
so fray my backpack
find subtle acts of resistance
for us

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