Consider the ermine—
territorial, noxious, thieving—
its dense fur whitening
when light is reduced.
Mesmerizing its victims

with a snake dance,
killing with a bite to
the back of the neck.
Born blind, deaf, and toothless,
the male is called a “dog,”

a roamer, a strayer,
a transient. But huddled
in my arms for warmth,
with my fingernails
stroking his underbelly,

he forgets his untamable
nature. His rounded
hips shiver like mine.
In folklore, he holds the soul
of a dead infant; and in life,

he prefers to give himself
up when hunted, rather
than soil himself. This is
civilization, I think, roughly
stroking his small ears.

But then suddenly
I’m chasing him around
the dining room screaming,
No, I told you, no! like two stupidly
loving, stupidly hating

creatures in a violent
marriage, or some weird
division of myself,
split off and abandoned
in order to live.