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lying with his chin on her knee like she posed him there for a photo, to challenge the counterfeit image of the flyer. Does this look like a Lost Dog to you? Does this look like someone who is hiding a Lost Dog to you? It didn’t. It looked like a portrait from an illustrated Bible. “It was just a dog that reminded you of Lucky,” she assured Ella. “You just thought of Lucky when you saw it.” “How do you know?” “Because it wasn’t Lucky,” said Mary Elizabeth. “It wasn’t Lucky.” “His name is Rover.” It was so quiet I could hear Ella not breathing. Somewhere outside the shade of the tree, there were pairs of girls clapping to Three Sailors and Miss Mary Mack, and boys playing tug-of-war with one of the prickly church jump ropes. They would pull the skin off their hands, but they knew that, they wanted the scabs to show off to their fathers. Three sailors went to sea sea sea to see what they could see see see, which turned out to be nothing much. Outside of that, our parents were sitting side-by-side-by-side in the front pews of the chapel so that they could kneel at the altar without having to walk the long aisle from the back of the room. They could just reach forward and down, and it would already be at their fingertips, the familiar dark stubble of the carpet, the holiness. But in the shade we were strangers. The next Sunday it rained. The smallness and sameness of the playground looked very briefly exotic, like the jungle Mrs. Lyall must have seen when she looked at it. The grass was mowed to a short nap like moss, and the whole yard was soggy with mist and heat and the deadwood smell of the end of summer. We stayed inside and watched out the window to see if Lucky would come look for us because that was the test of his true loyalties, and then when he didn’t, we decided his loyalties probably just wanted to stay dry. We didn’t blame him. After the lesson, Mary Elizabeth drew a picture of a dog and colored it with a reddish-brown crayon called bittersweet and gave it to Ella. It said LUCKY at the top of the paper, which I showed her how to write in cursive, and I gave her the idea to make each letter a different color. Overall, it was a bad drawing. The dog’s body was ragged and disproportionate compared to his legs, and his mouth was open, but it was just an unfriendly wedge of blank space in the profile of his head, without any teeth or a tongue. His eyes were supposed to be squinting with happiness, but she drew them as thin, black subtraction signs that made him look blinded, instead. She drew herself in the corner where you would normally put the sun. An oval face with pink hearts for cheeks and long, maraschino red hair that fell all the way down the page, over the middle of the dog’s body like a saddle blanket and then clear off the bottom of the paper, as though you were meant to imagine it went on forever. “How lovely, Mary Elizabeth,” said Mrs. Lyall. She could have said anything in the world, and she said, How lovely.

Profile for Ivy Leaves Journal of Literature & Art

Ivy Leaves Journal of Literature & Art — Vol 93  

The Ivy Leaves Journal of Literature & Art is an annual student publication at Anderson University in Anderson, SC. The journal has served a...

Ivy Leaves Journal of Literature & Art — Vol 93  

The Ivy Leaves Journal of Literature & Art is an annual student publication at Anderson University in Anderson, SC. The journal has served a...

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