Dogs Dream of Autumn

By H.A. Luck

My life is poised for flight. Let me tell you that right now. The heat pinning me to this sofa will break and a cool breeze is going to up and sweep me away. The only cold thing around here is the gin and tonic in my hand. I am trying to teach my heart to freeze but that is a job of work.

He is rolling his mouth around words, trying to hone the ones that cut. They’ve got down to it, by God. In this apartment. This hot fucking cell. This thing has taken on the sweat of a sporting event. He’d written prompt cards in a big bourbon hand but the color today is maudlin rose. This kind of destruction needs a big horn. What he would give to change places with the dog. Down there on the rug. Waiting and patient and needing to be walked soon. Dreaming of cool autumn and the leaves waiting to be snuffled.

We raised our glasses tonight in a toast, along with the others. To his promotion from shitty job to not-quite-as-shitty job. Once I told the world I loved this man. I married him under the sun of my own free will. It kills me the way he talks to his boss. I never knew what the word simper meant until I saw him do it and then I went and looked it up in the dictionary. Hard work but I found it. You might have to suck ass in this world but that does not necessarily mean that you want to watch your man doing it.

She has an arsenal. Special turns of phrase. Words which carve sharp and are yet blunt enough to make him taste the canvas. He has never been down for the count but his soul has bruises that have hardened into leathery scars.

You will take the dog. He loved you first and most. He keeps his muzzle down and his eyes wide open. He does not miss much of what goes on between us. He hates this heat. Like we do. Nothing to do but lie and sweat. At least we wait until evening to drink too much and fight. At least, I wait. His actions indicate otherwise.

Having a dog can mess up a dispute. Just when you are going good the dog is at the door, leash in mouth and you have to put the whole thing on hold. Somebody walks the dog and the other can sneak something in the kitchen.

The gin is warm in my hands. I am looking forward to seeing my husband soon. The guy in the other room. Who the hell is he? I will never choose him again. My husband will return on the wings of tender words. He will call me sweetheart and after this war and before the next, I will call him my own true love.


H.A. Luck was raised and educated in Baltimore, Maryland and attended the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He currently lives in Bern, Switzerland, where he is a writer and teacher.

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