Evolution of the Species

by Elizabeth Ross

Elizabeth Ross is the author of Kingdom (Palimpsest, 2015). Her work has been published in a number of literary magazines and selected for inclusion in Best Canadian Poetry 2013, as well as longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. She lives in Toronto.

 

After the infant’s birth,
the pugs became animals.
Once cute tails now exposed
pink and brown anuses.
They grew slimy snouts
and swamp odours. Their hair
shed and barbed the cotton
knees of the crawling infant’s
sleeper, beds designated
biohazards and thrown away.
They were kicked off rugs,
issued collars that sprayed
when they barked, ID tags
(scratching hazards to the
infant) removed. They watched
hours of daytime television,
subscribed to O, found their inner
wolves. Snapped up scraps
of high chair discards: avocados,
chocolate. Needed toxins—
charcoal, flea and heart
worm pills, vaccinations—
to survive. Their devotion grew
monstrous, two lumpy gargoyles
posted outside rooms in which
they were no longer allowed.
They got in trouble for walking
down parquet halls, neglected
claws clattering and waking
the infant. They got in
trouble for being protective.
They got in trouble for giving
kisses open-mouthed.

 


Elizabeth Ross is the author of Kingdom (Palimpsest, 2015). Her work has been published in a number of literary magazines and selected for inclusion in Best Canadian Poetry 2013, as well as longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. She lives in Toronto.

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