Kill the Dogs




Heather Bell

« 2016 Rattle Chapbook Prize Selection »


Kill the Dogs by Heather BellWhen Heather Bell’s son was two years old, he was attacked by a family dog. It sounds simple, but she carried her son for two years straight in linen to calm his crying. Her son simply reached out to the wrong thing, a thing he thought would be soft. Most mothers are never in that position: to see their little loves in the mouth of an animal. To suddenly find themselves sparring with a snarling thing. Her son is okay, but something changed. It became this great overarching metaphor: women fighting dog, women fighting dog, women fighting dog. Over and over. It begins when we are young: the lascivious smiles. It then grows into touching and we are faced with a choice: kill the dogs or let them eat everything we have ever loved. And the thing we are never told is that it is more tiring to pet the dog than to kill it. The dogs keep returning for more.

Sample Poems

•“Haircut” in Rattle online
•“Have You Forgotten” in Rattle online
•“Umbrella” in Rattle online


About the Author

Heather BellHeather Bell has been published in Rattle, Red Fez, Ampersand, and many others journals. This is her sixth book. She lives in Oswego, New York.


Cover art by Morganne Radziewicz
“Wolfgirl,” graphite and colored pencil, 8.5” x 11”

ISBN: 978-1-931307-33-8
Cover price: $6.00
Chapbook: 36 pages
Size: 6″ x 9″