Joanne Dominique Dwyer
Late Night Confessions

I met a man last night who is afraid of dogs.

He said, in Sweden pit bulls are outlawed.

We built a fire from dead yucca

and talked about the selective biting habits of domestic felines:

his cat attacks some women, but not others.

We talked of mimicry: the mimicry of the oppressor

to copy the style of the oppressed.

The female tiger butterfly mimics the monarch

matching its wing design and sun colors

without ever having to feed on poison milkweed.

But he was talking about Hip Hop artists

and women forced to veil themselves.


The man who is afraid of dogs, his girlfriend, and I

go out into the cold night air to collect more yucca.

the girlfriend says to no one in particular

that her shampoo contains yucca

and that her eyes itch, but she cannot cry.

I tell them St. John’s Wort has done nothing for me.

I don’t tell them about the dream I had of my children

burning inside a small hut.


The man who is afraid of dogs

lives just below the Arctic Circle,

where for three months of winter the air is black,

without sun. He wants to know why we Americans

are consumed with the history of other cultures

and not our own. He wants to know why in New Mexico

there are so many crosses on the sides of our roads

and so many churches without bells.

I tell him all the buffalo were slaughtered.

I don’t tell him about the miracle staircase.


I confess to the Swede that I too am afraid of pit bulls -

I’m afraid of the type of people who own pit bulls.

I don’t tell him about my non-violent lesbian

friend who owns a pit bull samed Sugar

and that I have put my hands inside the dog’s mouth.

I don’t tell him about my Chilean painter friend who

in his younger years backpacked through Europe.

He liked Sweden very well, with fond memories

of being in bed with a woman and her mother at the same time.

Or should I say a woman and her daughter.


The fire is going out and the moon is falling.

The man who is afraid of dogs wants to know

where my husband is. He calls me a grass widow

but has the diplomacy not to ask

where it’s war or famine.


I imagine myself mimicking the faithful woman

standing on the shore, looking out to sea

waiting for the return of my seafaring husband.

But the truth is: I don’t stand on the shore often.

I get in the water, and I like the water cold

and the waves hurricane high. 

Found In Volume 36, No. 01
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Joanne Dominique Dwyer
About the Author

Joanne Dominique Dwyer lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She is a 2008 recipient of a Rona Jaffe Writers Foundation Award.