Poetry by Victoria Mack

“Heart of a Dog”
             -For Nala, adopted and killed the next day-
               By Victoria Mack

At the edge of the world there is a door.
Close your eyes. See it. Turn the handle, push, walk through:
a yellow field. Waiting, with black-eyed susan tickling her chin,
is Nala. She is brown, smiling. Touch her head. Velvet.

Run your hand down her back. See the light catch the ripples
in her fur. Flecks of gold, spots of yellow, pink, orange, white.

Her skin is smooth. The scars, gone. The crater, gone.
She is perfect, whole, without pain.

Come home. Open your eyes.
Just below your breastbone, an ache. You remember
her gold, her brown and white, her amber eyes and black lips.
You look at your fingertips, think, velvet.

Carry her with you. The world is red, red.
Carry her gold. Be brave. Remember.

Keep your anger sharp. Let it strike the necks it must.
But keep your heart soft enough that when you meet her again,
you can hear her say: Forgive.

And maybe you can. Then
you will look at your own skin with wonder as it shines
gold and brown, and know that your heart is finally
good enough, good enough, good, good.


- Victoria Mack is a Professor of Performing Arts at the Savannah College of Art and Design in Savannah, GA. She spends half her year teaching in Savannah and the other half writing, acting and directing at home in New York City. Her MFA is from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts and her BA is from Barnard College. She has been published in Flash Fiction Magazine, and was shortlisted for the 2021 Able Muse Write Prize. https://www.victoriamackcreative.com/

Copyright©2021 by Victoria Mack. All Rights Reserved.