So she could cope with the guilt
she renamed the dog before taking it
to the pound—which got me thinking
about guilt and how I’ve shaken it
most of my life, lost it on one
of the false trails I fashioned.
It wasn’t easy being rescued
all those times, forgiving
the home in homeless
and naming the streets
just off the streets. I found
real self pity needs strong family
ties and accountability can only be
absorbed by something thick
and hidden like a wallet,
something heartless
like a heart. So, I told her
not to forgive herself
just as the dog didn’t
for soiling every living space
in the house. Guilt is part
of a good home, I said,
sometimes the only thing
that can pick up a scent.

George Bishop was raised on the Jersey Shore before moving to Florida in 1985. Recent work has appeared in Merge Review, White Pelican Review and The Griffin. His chapbook, Love Scenes, was released by Finishing Line Press in November 2009.

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