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Poem for Two Dogs Hanged in Salem, Massachusetts, 1692

Did they hang
their heads
as good dogs do
when someone
slips beside them
to loop
a collar
or a rope
around their furry necks

Did they prance
along proudly
as happy dogs do
when trotting
alongside a friend
or stranger
who’s taking them
for a nice long walk?

Did they give
sloppy kisses
as loving dogs do
when a kind man
or gruff man
down beside them
and says sit
and stay

Did they shake
all over
as frightened dogs do
when startled by thunder
or lightning
or black hoods
placed over their heads
making everything too quiet
and dark

Did they swing
their tails
as innocent dogs do
when they’re puzzled
or confused
but still
trusting those near
will bring them
no harm

Or did they bare
their teeth
growl and leap
snapping at the Hangman
before he strung them up
and they rose
to Heaven
leaving bodies behind
to be buried like bones

[Originally published in Solstice: A Magazine of Diverse Voices. Summer, 2010. http://solsticelitmag.org/poem-for-two-dogs-hanged-in-salem-1692/.]