Black Dog

I learned soon enough that you
were not just for Christmas,
that long winter of ’97
when you first arrived.

how quickly you became a
constant companion, never far
from my side, matching me
stride for stride, more faithful
than night’s darkness.

and how you grew, fed by my helpless
hand, unable to resist those hang-dog
eyes that penetrated mine and claimed
my vulnerability as easily as locking
jaws around a bone; already, you knew
me better than I knew myself.

and how soon your presence cast
a lengthening shadow that darkened
my days as I lost the fight for control,
relinquishing myself to serve a black
dog-god, a barking sergeant major
whose iron bite and vice-like grip
told me who was master.

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