a turtle born on the wrong side of its shell by Bogdan Dragos

 
 
 
 
 He had a big belly
 but he wasn't a fat man
 he wished he was a fat man
  
 his daughter was four
 and she told him that he
 looked like a
 turtle
 born
 on the wrong side of
 its shell
  
 and mother laughed.
 He didn't.
  
 Surely he would have if the
 swelling wasn't a terminal
 disease
 a type of cancer of the
 stomach and guts whose
 name he struggled very
 hard to
 forget
 but the regular visits to
 the doctor kept reminding him
  
 his wife kept laughing
 she said that laughing
 is the key
 the best healing
 Laughter and love
 lots and lots of love
 Love
  
 but the other night when
 he tucked the little girl
 in bed and kissed her forehead and
 said "I love you."
 she poked her tongue at him
 and said "I don't! You ugly and weird.
 I love mommy and puppy Bran. Good
 night." And she put her
 head on the pillow and
 closed her eyes.
  
 It was I who went to the shelter
 and brought puppy Bran home, he though
 as he closed the door, tears
 blurring his vision
 He didn't go into the
 bedroom where his wife
 was probably asleep
  
 he went into the bathroom
 vomited
 washed his face
 rinsed his mouth
 went into the kitchen
 and grabbed the leash
 went outside
 and took puppy Bran
 for a walk
  
 the moon lighted their path
 and the shadow of his
 big, swollen belly
 covered all of puppy Bran  

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