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Of Animals

The Greatest Dane

By Daiva Olsen

In the outside air, it was hot, it was summer. The store had been frigidly cold.

My skin began to warm as I moved forward. With a squint and smile in my eyes.

My sandals smacked the concrete, and I spotted a thing close by…

Something enormous in the back of a car. Two rows of seats had been removed to make room.

A gigantic stuffed animal, a present perhaps…a child’s plaything waiting patiently for the party…

The large face was frozen in its passionless stitched expression behind the tinted glass.

When I reached my car door I turned back to see it again.

The driver’s side window was down—a straight untinted view of the toy…

Sound disappeared. And all movement came to rest-

Save the lilt of the air’s dust catching yellow light in his car.

Golden sunset slow motion dust. Floating weightless and framing

The greyblack figure sitting at attention. …Silent fear slid onto my spine.

No breath but mine—And his. !!! He was breathing!

His rib cage Magnificent Ribcage!—was expanding under his skin.

His thin, fierce body was living! The ears of Anubis—peaked and listening

Perched on a stable head, on a noble neck; this was no toy but a soldier. A General! A Prince!

His skin was slick fur. His practiced muscles shone in the sun.

He was massive. A proud Hamlet—sitting in the back of a white suburban.

My feet on the concrete tingled with the thrill of realization.

He sensed my surprise—I saw it. In the tips of his ears. In the stillness of his neck…

A roaring bark was belted—ripping the silence in two and shredding the pace of my breath.

The masterful animal jolted in quick bursts of motion demanding the two-ton car to comply.

With a frenzied spin away from the mad vehicle my fingers found the handle of our car door.

An all in one swift motion led me to rest, sitting in the passenger seat, my feet on the car floor.

The barks and bursts ceased as the owner approached her friend and charge.

And for the next seven minutes all I saw was stars.

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