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PSALM OF THE DOG GIRL

I was sold by my mother, whom I frightened.

Under the shadow of Your wings I sit in sawdust
next to the Crocodile Lady playing her ukulele.
My soul is among lions, beside the Fire Eater,
before strangers.

My face is furred as the backs of my hands, which smell
good. I see myself reflected in spectacles,
and I know You speak through me.

They want a world where I am
possible — miracle and hoax.

They love the beasts of the fields, and their pets,
just as I love my doll with yellow hair,
her smooth cheeks gray from my touch.
My heart is fixed on those glass eyes that open
and close, knowing You did not make her.

      — Allyson Shaw