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  • Abby, the Comedian
  • Jennifer L. Knox (bio)

I'm surprised how long it takesher heart to stop. Strong old girl. Dr. Murrellkeeps the stethoscope pressed to her ribs.I lean down in front of her unblinking eyes.

"You're a good dog, Abby," I assure her.Deb, Denny, and Dr. Murrell agree. "You area good dog, Abby." A beat or two…he putsthe stethoscope away. Faint gray spots on her

rump I've never noticed. Did they swim up when shegot sick? No, I remember hearing color on the furbegins in the skin. Denny coughs. "This isthe saddest one—she had such a hard life."

"She found love in the end, though," Dr. Murrell says,looking down, still petting her, and it's true.If Abby's life had been a Greek play, technicallyit would've been a comedy—but how does

Dr. Murrell know that? Can he feel it through herstill-warm hide shooting off hairs with each pass?Denny scoops her up and carries her to the truck.Her stuck-out white paw bounces with each step:

Bye-bye. Bye-bye. Bye-bye. Back at the house,we wait for Collin to help Denny dig the hole."Dr. Murrell seems like a nice guy," I say and (I thinkto let me know Dr. Murrell wasn't blowing smoke

or maybe to make me feel better) Denny says,"Dr. Murrell knew everything about her." [End Page 81]

Jennifer L. Knox

Jennifer L. Knox's new collection of poems, Crushing It, is forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in 2020. Her work has appeared four times in The Best American Poetry series, and her nonfiction writing has appeared in The Washington Post and The American Poetry Review. She teaches at Iowa State University and is the proprietor of a small-batch artisanal spice company called Saltlickers.



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