Terese Svoboda

She Dog | Mermaid
June 25, 2017 Svoboda Terese

She Dog


                        A ticky rain of blood from

            her back fur—why did her sex

confuse me?

            Femme, she loved girls,

                        and her mustache neutered

                        her. Fur

            tangled and burred,


whole plants

clung to her. She

                        teethed them free,

then bit me.


The eyes behind those bangs of hers flinty, wary.


            Too-sensitive for a toothbrush,

            mateless, alien

in grin and now dead,


                        my hands want to feel

the heartbeat

            stubborn inside her,

            my consolation,

                        not hers.





The artist who stitched her legs


                        for chastity?

For media coverage,


a syndrome, perhaps a desire

to swim

                        backward in time,



when there were roaming wolves,

when there were iridescent worms

the size of–


                        How did she pee?

Or swim.

Manage the wheelchair?


My memory falters – her name?

She didn’t shoot herself

like the Austrian man,

limb by limb,


or chop off bits,

castration so similar.

She was female,



                        What stitch,

the needle inserted, what thread,

what topical pain-killer

or not?


The legs want to run.

Terese Svoboda: Anhinga Press published Theatrix: Play Poems in March 2021.