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She might have had months left of her dog-years,

but to be who? She'd grown light as a nest

and spent the whole day under her long ears

listening to the bad radio in her breast.

On the steel bench, knowing what was taking shape

she tried and tried to stand, as if to sign

that she was still of use, and should escape

our selection. So I turned her face to mine,

and seeing only love there – which, for all

the wolf in her, she knew as well as we did -

she lay back down and let the needle enter.

And love was surely what her eyes conceded

as her stare grew hard, and one bright aerial

quit making its report back to the centre.

Mercies

Don Paterson

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