“Hard,” a poem by Colin Winnette

We were born hard. We own a pit bull. We don’t eat much. We’re quiet. If you saw us on the street, you might cross it and enter a store. You might avert your eyes. You would try not to look at our pit bull. Or at us. We are gray and stiff and ungentle. We are jagged around the edges. We’ve set spikes on our shoulders to keep the pigeons off. Pigeons have always been a problem. We face our problems head on. We deal directly with each issue. It is not a safe way to live, wrestling with lightning storms and punching out villagers and identifying gunmen from a lineup. But it is the life we know and love. We are big on love and friendship. We are very loyal and caring. Our hands release sand when they touch, little granules and chunks fold into our bird-covered sheets. They are not really birds. They look nothing like real actual birds. Just like our dog looks nothing like a real pit bull, but more like two pit bulls pressed together. There is no way to determine how much of our life we made for ourselves and how much simply happened as it did and we did not resist. We talk about this all of the time. The consensus is, if we could identify those things we did not invite, we would take a long, hard look at them. We would place them in a hole in the backyard maybe, bury them up to their neck near an ant pile, and demand to know, just what exactly did they think they were doing?

 

 

***

Colin Winnette is the author of several books, including Haints Stay (Two Dollar Radio) and The Job of the Wasp (Soft Skull Press). He was the winner of Les Figues Press’s NOS Book Contest, a runner-up for Cleveland State University Poetry Center’s First Book Award, and a finalist for Gulf Coast Magazine’s Donald Barthelme Prize for Short Prose. His fiction has appeared in numerous publications, including Playboy, Electric Literature, and McSweeney’s. He lives in San Francisco, and his website is a .net.

Image: cbssports.com

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