I’m stroking Otis
with my right hand,
my left arm around him,
my cheek against his neck.
It’s 92 degrees out,
and he’s flicking his tail,
back and forth at flys.
I’ve just nailed shoes
onto his hind feet.
A steady rhythm of 
bashing and scraping,
cutting and pulling,
yanking and yelling.
With each brush
of my hand, I whisper
I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m
sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so
rry as round tears roll
down my face.
His black hairs stick
to my skin in the wetness
and when I pull back
he is looking at me
with endless, endless
eyes that don’t show
what he’s thinking.