“Day 274” by Alexandra Bessette

Alexandra Bessette

DAY 274

Bert is in the kitchen and he is 
sitting on the floor mat so his humongous paws
don’t slide across the hardwood and he is
watching me fluff a pot of white rice
with that animal intensity, unblinking
as if to say please or 
your leg is the first thing I would eat
in the apocalypse and I think
who’s gonna tell him? I ran out
of dog food this morning and this is the best
I can do, for now, because the stores
are packed with people and all my inhalers
have been empty for a week. He’s watching 
my hand on the fork and his head is bobbing 
faintly with my movements. I wonder
what it might be like to want a thing
that much, that simply.

from Rattle #75, Spring 2022


Alexandra Bessette: “When I was in fifth grade, my teacher Mrs. Jarvis set aside six minutes at the beginning of every class for us to write. At the end of our six minutes, we read to each other. On the last day of school I raised my hand and shared the first few paragraphs of a short story. I stopped abruptly and looked up in time to catch the moment before anyone realized I had finished, before their collective intake of breath. I’d like to live in that millisecond forever. That’s why I write. P.S. Bert has been doing great since day 274.” (web)

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