Naomi Mulvihill
| poetry


Rosie, who’s dying of malabsorption,

yaps on the front porch. A walking ossuary,

she treads the matchboards and waits

for the Witnesses—two young women

who must smell faintly, I think, of fried food

or red rubber balls or mud. Rosie loves them

as she loves pork rinds, fetch, and puddles

and, because I’m promiscuous

in matters of faith, so do I. Any position

seems plausible. On days like this, we

bask in the late autumn sun and let the missionaries

limber us up with biblical small talk. Soon they’ll

ask me about the afterlife. When I say

I don’t feel the need for it, Rosie

will agree because we’re a woman

and a dog of one mind. The blonde

in the pilled navy skirt will drop her voice

an octave, and almost whisper, “Even with all

the suffering?” Out of place in an immaculate sky,

a single cloud—a scoured spot

where the material has worn through—

will oversee our silence. They’ll never

return and Rosie will die. I’ll bury her red ball

with the handful of ash she’s become.

Naomi Mulvihill was a fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA. Her poems have been published in the Kenyon Review Online, Green Mountains Review, West Branch, and others, and featured in Verse Daily and The Unamuno Author Series Festival Anthology.

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