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Copyright (c) 2000 First Things 103 (May 2000): 29, 47.

Desert Confirmation

They say these people are poor andthere are tremors somewhere near.

The immaculate dark child in pinklace with roses gracing her hairand tiny white“gloved hands(her brother properly white“shirted, barely weaned)beneath the crucifix seemssafe within wallsthat image violencetransformed forever.

“Joyce Crain

On the Early Retirement of Dogs

Dogs, in their job of being man’s best friend,die young in human years, retire toa scent“filled place where well“fed pets attendand lick the sores of mangy Lazari.

I have outlived, in order: Cole, the Cocker;Morry, Dachshund; Gertie, Airdale; Jenny,Collie; Smitty, Ridgeback; I’ve watched the dogsof others die: Granny’s shepherd Blitz;Barney, her fox terrier; Aunt Happy’sGreat Dane, Inge, a pair of scotties, Duncanand Fife; my brother’s Mike, from Mexico;a neighbor’s corgi, Keesh, who bit my father.

Aging with me now, the bloodhound, Cleo,and pointer“spaniel, Dotty, who thinks I amher pup. She watches to make sure I don’tescape, and licks me when I’m near. I’d almostlet her take me with her when she goes.Her nose is sound enough to find the deadI’d want to throw my arms around. God grantme in the afterlife a home with gracioushearth and grounds for all these lovesome hounds.

“Joyce S. Brown