Units of Measurement

Illustration by Alessandro Gottardo
Illustration by Alessandro Gottardo

In between trees and parked cars I see flashes of brown and white. I’m running, leash in one hand, collar attached, and a lit cigarette in the other. That’s the detail that brings me back: the lit cigarette. That I still think I can reach Seymour and finish my cigarette as I walk him back to the apartment, that any of this won’t be anything more than an inconvenience. I almost catch up to him after a couple of blocks. He’s run all the way down our small street to the main boulevard and stops at the base of an electric pole to take a shit. The morning traffic is heavy enough to be dangerous and I should just grab him. I should dive and grab him by the scruff. Instead I bend down to slip the collar back over his neck and he jerks his head back, slips out of reach and turns left at the next corner, runs south toward the park. I chase after him and flick the cigarette to the curb.

Originally published Spring/Summer 2019 in Ninth Letter, Volume 16.1. Nominated by Ninth Letter for a Pushcart Prize.

Available to purchase here.

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