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Bells Will Be Ringing

Reindeer shake.

Bells are ringing.

Ringing ears with too much,

Of the same,

Of the never ending.

In the summer, my dog shook.

More than usual.

No bells.


No downy flake.

Mostly, his behavior changed

After he barked

As if his own voice

Was his irritation.

“It is,” the vet confirmed.

“A fungus. Like athletes foot of the ear.”

A hot and moist summer,

It was the season.

Now, it is the season.

My ears are ringing.

My voice. Our voice.

More an irritation than a message.

Where and how to fit.

I treated my dog with a pill and ointment.

The ointment I couldn’t control.

I rubbed.

Attempts to make improvements.

I noticed none.

A mess.

Splattering of words. Cacophony of bells.

No precision. No control.

Only oil.

Oil, a Hanukkah miracle.

The dog’s oil was supposed to last

Two months,

It barely lasted two weeks.

Not oil, grease.

No miracle.





Sickened stomachs.

The vet shone her otoscope.

A focused light

Can only miss the vastness of the mess

Slathered on and in.

Layers of soap,

Only blended

Un-ended distress underneath

My dog’s ear

Flipped and folded back.

“Looks good. Clear.”

The ointment surfaced from underneath

But, I confess.

“I stopped the ointment.

Ran out. Couldn’t manage it.

Another option?”

I ask my Hebrew teacher.

“Where do you buy your Chanukah candles?”


I cringe.

At the sudden distance between myself

And small bits of natural light.

Another holiday

My other holiday.

Othered holiday


I don’t.

The dog didn’t.

The vet set down her otoscope.

“Ear canal looks cleaner.”

I nod.

I knew.

The swipe of a match.

Despite my clumsy action.


In spite of inconsistent words.

“He hasn’t seemed as irritated,” I had observed.

I didn’t need time with an expert.


I needed time with a friend.


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