by Sarah Wetzel
I wanted to tell her that I knew the truth—
she didn't adopt her dog from a kill shelter,
which is what she was telling a group of us.
I held my tongue for fear of appearing petty.
We all want to be better than we are.
Yesterday, my brother called and asked for money.
At first, I told him no.
But he'd received the third notice from Georgia Power
so I paid his $700 electric bill though told him
never again, unless his wife got a job, any job.
I cc'ed her on the email.
She wrote back, you're an awful person
with a mixture of rage and bitterness I could hear
even on the screen. Still, this time
I meant it. I overheard the woman at the party
tell her friend they'd actually purchased the dog
from a breeder in upstate New York.
We spent so much money, we could have adopted
a baby from China. I found her statement funny.
I want to be better. I want to save a dog, to save
my brother. I want to tread lightly on this world without
leaving footprints or too many
plastic wrappers. I want to see Singapore
and Vietnam, to spend a summer in Italy writing
short stories and a sonnet or two.
Learn to tango and foxtrot equally well.
I want to be good.
I want to write one poem so perfect
that when I'm dead, a stranger will pin it to the wall,
perhaps even claim it as their own.