Therapy is always good in the beginning, except with this one therapist, who, when I told her I was Mexican, said that she loves Mexico—rescued several dogs from there—that she shouldn’t say this but Mexicans are cruel people. Unkind to the dogs in the street. Back at work, two American cops talk about the weirdest cases of animal violence they’d ever encountered and I could tell they were performing for listeners, and though I tried not to, I heard the turtle’s shell pierced and tied to a stake. I am not their colleague. I work for the opposite side, but their words drove me towards a dog hanging from a tree and the person who hung it there. The district attorney was personally disgusted by the facts and said she’d love to make an example out of this case and I believe it. I believe the propensity to punch down. I have a hard time believing district attorneys identify with people who go untreated, or people who depend on their children for translation, and definitely not people who do both. I wonder if I really do see something they don’t; something that they mistake for civility. Paloma took a noose and strung the dog up; held the rope between her hands and hid her head behind a tree so she wouldn’t have to watch. Her daughter called the cops. My cousin asked me what happens now after her brother was declared incompetent by a court and ordered into mental health treatment. Nothing I answered. Nothing happens. No one will take him to the doctor or ask him off the street. He attacked his sister, pulled the hair from her head because he’s afraid of control, and if we call the cops they’ll kill him, that's how much we trust them but nothing ever happens.
Loyalty is the dog’s mistake. Standing beside its master while the rope is tied.
Teri Vela (she/her) is a latinx queer poet, bruja, mother, and former lawyer, born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada (Southern Paiute traditional lands). Her publications include poetry in Witch Craft Magazine, The Seventh Wave Magazine (TSW), and others. She is a reader for Stillhouse Press, a contributing editor with TSW, a 2021 summer retreat fellow with the Brooklyn Poets, and a 2021 Tin House summer workshop participant. In 2020, she was a fellow with The Watering Hole and an editorial resident with TSW. Her poetry explores justice, personhood, motherhood, mental health, grief, and leaving an unleavable place.