The Supplicant

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Contributor: Andrew Hubbard

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I know what a house is.
It’s warmth and safety and food.
This house smelled kind.

I’d been lost so long
I couldn’t remember anything else
And hungry so long my legs shook.

Somewhere I cut my paw
And there was blood on every footprint.

I don’t remember how I climbed
Onto their porch, but I did.
I laid down and decided
I wasn’t leaving, even if I died.

I couldn’t go any farther anyway.

When they found me
They made surprised noises.
She smelled gentle,
Him, I wasn’t sure.

She brought me a big bowl of food
And held my head up.
I ate it lying down.

She brought me another bowl
And I ate that too.
They made more surprised noises.

I was very tired.
He picked me up and carried me inside,
Now he smelled just fine.

When I woke up
There was a big, warm cover over me
And she was putting sharp smells
On my paw. It hurt a little.
Then she wrapped it in soft cloths.

I was still very tired
But I smelled something without a name
And sensed it all the way through—
I was home.

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Born in Maine. Schooled at Dartmouth and Columbia. Educated in New York, Carolina, Nebraska, DC, and now Indiana.


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