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by Sandy Longhorn

NELLE 3 | 2020

—The metaphor of the black dog representing depression can be traced
back to the Roman poet, Horace, ca. 40 B.C.

Black Dog loves the winter solstice,
luxuriates in the weeks that lead
to the deepest dark. Every evening
when the light fades early, our tug

of war lasts a little longer. I watch
his canine grin as I struggle to lift
the weight of worn down bones,
to urge slack muscles into motion.

Were I bent to worship, I would plead
with any offered god to speed the clock,
to put a finger on the pole and send us
tilting toward the lengthening of the light.

But Black Dog blocks out all escape,
places sugar, fat, and salt upon my tongue,
concoctions meant to guarantee
a longer sinking into mute lethargy.

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