It must be fulfilling knowing whom to love, that
one’s calling in life is to guard and growl. John
Wayne had a dog named Dog. A clever thing able
to translate Dog! meaning Attack! from Dog!
meaning Get your ass over here, I’m leaving. What
does it mean to name that which obeys their loved
ones? They seduced a dog with food, washed the
streets of Moscow out of its fur. They praised and
encouraged her: Off to college you go. Sit! Be a
mother AND have a career. I like to imagine, they
patted her head for good luck, scratched behind
her ear–which she had learned to lean into. I
like to imagine that when Laika had crossed that
orbital finish line as the first dog in outer space,
she remained ignorant of the words hyperthermia,
betrayal, dispensable. That the evening lights and
the fading metal clicks were neighbourhood doors
swinging open. Each threshold offering a handful
of food, a gentle pat on her head. Good girl. You’re
such a good dog.

by Shareen K. Murayama

Illustrated by Luke Richmond

Shareen K. Murayama is a Japanese-Okinawan American poet and educator who lives in Honolulu, Hawai`i. She spends her afternoons surfing and her evenings with her dog named Squid. She’s a reader for The Adroit Journal, and her art is forthcoming in Juked, Bamboo Ridge, The Margins, Riot Act, Cobra Milk Mag, and Near Window. You can find her on IG & Twitter @ambusypoeming

Luke Richmond is a primary school teacher from London. When he’s not marking books and planning lessons he tries to find time to draw because his therapist said it’s good for him. You can find him @expletivesdeleted and his art @expletivesdrawleted.