LATELY I AM TRYING
to teach my dog how to be alive. When she arrived in my life, she was a surprise. And because she surprised me, she was a miracle. It was a time of death. It always is. I was afraid and then undone by her. She has never known her mother and when my mother sees her, she scrunches up her nose and says, “You have no mummy? Me too.” She just lost her mom. My brother was angry. He asked, “Who’s fault?” and I said the state. I had no answer. What does blame do in a catastrophe? The week after my grandmother died, I attended class. They were talking about what killed her like it was an inconvenience. Like it wasn’t a monster, haunting my bed, hunting the vulnerable. Who are the vulnerable? Those who work hard? Who were born? Who bear something that says, I might be possible to you? I don’t like that I wrote that, but I won’t erase it. Too grand. It forgets the bruised tendons of her hands the last time she held them out to me. The blister on her left heel the last time she walked. The last time I felt present with her, her breaking lungs, she sat up to eat. To drink milk. I threw out all her medication. My aunts were angry. I cradled her head in my hand and said, “Twenty four years ago, I was your baby and now you’re mine.” Someday my dog will die. I might touch her once before she goes. My parents are getting older. My brother is so far away and my sister’s house is flooded. The Texas snow. But I went on a walk with my Lola and sometimes she kisses the ankles she gnaws. When I want to kiss someone, my lips throb. Every touch is a miracle. All of you are so beautiful to me. Please. Teach me how to be.
Listen to Sanna read "Lately I Am Trying" below:
SANNA WANI (she/her) lives between Mississauga and Srinagar. Her debut collection, MY GRIEF, THE SUN, is forthcoming with House of Anansi Press in Spring 2022. She loves daisies.