Charles Harper Webb

“Face-Eating Rottweiler, Free to Good Home”
by Charles Harper Webb

“Rottweilers are loving Protectors,” my wife states.

“One growl could save our home.”

Rottweilers are Nazi dogs, like Dobermans

and German Shepherds. (Not dachshunds).

Rottweilers guarded the fence that kept my wife’s

zaide in Buchenwald. She doesn’t blame the dogs.

She wants one on her side, the way the Yankees,

tired of losing to Babe Ruth, hired him.

How strange to think that human skin will peel

like cheese-crust off a casserole—that we, like cows

and sheep, can be tanned into shoes

and lampshades, belts and gloves. A woman mauled

by her dog received, for free, a corpse’s face:

skin shield between the world and her.

(“The price is right,” Dad said when anything was free.)

The ‘weiler, left to guard a small girl, grabbed her face

and yanked it off the bone. Can you imagine

the child’s screams? The parents’, running home?

As the moon’s silver blood gleams, gushing

down our walls, I wonder if our home is good,

or only seems so, since it’s all we know.

“My daughter’s hugged that dog a thousand times,”

a neighbor said, gripping her child as if to save her

from a sucking tide.

 

Published in Cider Press Review, Volume 18, Issue 1.

Charles Harper WebbCharles Harper Webb’s latest book, Brain Camp, was published by the University of Pittsburgh Press in 2015. A Million MFAs Are Not Enough, a book of essays on contemporary American poetry, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2016. Recipient of grants from the Whiting and Guggenheim foundations, Webb teaches Creative Writing at California State University, Long Beach.

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