My Dog

By Elia Vargas

I have a dog here. Sometimes I forget which one it is. But I can hear him, in the morning, barking outside my house, and I can hear him, late at night, barking loudly outside my house. Usually it sounds more like fifty dogs, growling, howling, and scuffling along cement rooftops. Barking at what I imagine are frivolous matters like, Hey! There goes that guy again, or stupid pigeon rat-bird!

I told you that Althusser’s theory of the Ideological State Apparatus is a true structural analysis of society. There is a dog hierarchy too – roof dogs and street dogs – but as it goes here, there is really just one dog. I can’t figure out how he does that. Multiplies, I mean. Oh the vertigo it causes me, but I revel in cross-eyed joy at its super-power ability to change shape, color, and size. Not unlike that of my favorite marvel heroes of old; or maybe they were the bad guys. I don’t remember.

Usually he nips at my feet as I walk, trailing behind me half smiling/half begging. I forget which one is mine, but he will always be there, in that same spot, where coarse grass and stained cobblestone blur in dark splotches of…stuff; that small swirl of grass, grit, and garbage from which he has made himself a home – his love nest. Or I will find him next to that car that hasn’t moved since I arrived, with an engine that I suspect blossomed during the ten years of spring.

I have seen my dog humping that other dog, and I have seen it suckled by its pups. Often I am startled by it, slightly afraid that the look in its eyes or its constant need to chase its own tail might be of concern. But then I see it happily scavenging through garbage or licking itself.

At times I find greasy, grimy trails of it leading back home, where it waits panting pleasantly, also licking itself, and I think two things: why does my dog still have its balls; and second, what would happen if I could harness the power of all the street dogs?

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