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Friday, July 27, 2012
Mark Slouka "Dog" Ploughshares
Appearing inPloughshares, Mark Slouka's short story "Dog" starts with opening passages that describe, in gripping detail, a dog owner discovering something sharp apparently embedded in his dog's fur. Upon a little more inspection, he finds razor blades, and not just one of them.
Just as readers might be settling into a story whose opening seems to imply a conflict centered on who or what had been torturing the dog, the narrator's strange guiltiness and avoidance of animal hospitals ("All they had to do was put up with it for a while, endure it as best they could, and all would be well.")--all work together to communicate that, in fact, the dog symbolizes something much more than a dog.
I'll never forget the hauntingly vivid details and artistic strangeness in this story.