“Animalizing” by Marisela Navarro

Engraving vintage sea urchin.A sea urchin embryo is a beautiful sight. It grows like a kaleidoscope. With the aid of a scanning electron microscope, I see everything: the cells are transparent, impartial. They are ready for my eye and my ideas about animalizing. I’d go into more detail, but I don’t like to talk about sea urchin embryos. I jot down notes about them in my composition book. I like to observe them and think about them and not be asked questions. If my research is ever published, only other marine scientists will nuzzle into the genomes. My treasure at home is a purple sea urchin shell. This sea urchin was born in my lab; it grew and died there and was transported by car to my bedside table.

I can talk about a different animal: the dog. There is a particular dog named Shawnson I’d like to talk about. He belonged to my friend Shawn. I knew Shawn from the university. Every year the Department of Cell Biology held an outdoor conference in front of the student emporium—an effort to raise on-campus awareness of the progressive research our labs were conducting. Shawn, at the time a stranger, stopped to view my poster on his way to class. He wore mirrored aviator sunglasses, so as we spoke I appeared to myself as a funnel, lacquered and swathed with hair. He maintained an idle smile as though anticipating me to make his smile fuller. He pointed at one of my SEM images and said, “What am I looking at?”

“This is a sea urchin embryo in the blastula stage of development. The least interesting stage,” I said. Shawn became my friend somewhat aimlessly as the weeks passed. We didn’t spend time with each other on purpose. We had no commonalities. He was in the cinema program. Our friendship was very much like coming upon a puddle.

He gave me the keys to his apartment and asked if I’d be willing to walk Shawnson at lunchtime being that I made my own hours at the lab and worked only two blocks away. In return he promised to feed me sandwiches or other lunch portions. I said yes. I preferred to be nice and it was no trouble to leave the lab for half an hour. There was also a phenomenon I longed to experience: that in which you agree to help a person, but in reality, they are helping you. In a parallel universe Shawn and I are very close. In that universe we tell each other everything. He is privy to an atrocious piece of information about me. The information can’t be seen with the eye, only felt with the heart. I don’t have a dark secret; a secret is bound to you forever. What I have is something I would like to exorcise.

I never had a dog of my own growing up, though I wanted one. There are four ways to procure a dog: purchase, adopt, dognap, or accept. Shawn accepted his dog as a gift from his girlfriend. They loved the dog very much and often posed in photos together. Whenever I saw the dog sandwiched between his caretakers on social media, I knew the dog, in that instant, had been hovering at about zero on a scale of adaptability. I knew that if the dog had somehow been removed from his owner’s arms and transported outside, alone in the cold with a bone he could smell but could not find, the dog would have gone insane. At this point in my life it’s clear I will never own a dog. Dogs are different from sea urchin embryos in obvious ways, but the most important is that a dog has the potential to sense things about me. The sea urchin embryo is locked within my glass slides, unaware it is being observed and unable to experience me in any capacity. Those lucid cells can’t look me in the eye.

Shawnson would not approach me when I entered the apartment to walk him that first day. He was part German Shepherd, part something else, maybe Collie. He had a black face, ears that folded down with tan wisps of fur, solemn golden eyes counterbalanced by a jolly pink tongue that pulsed from his mouth. I expected him to growl or sniff my pants, but he stood immobile on all fours and watched me from a safe distance. If he sensed the monster inside me, he didn’t let on. I called his name and he came right to me. Shawn had left the leash hanging by the door with a note: “Thank you! Roast pork sandwich in the fridge.” I hooked the leash to Shawnson’s collar and out we went.

We walked to a small park near the apartment. There was only one bench on which no one sat. There was no path or walkway cutting through the park. A sidewalk bordered one edge thick with trees, as though the park planners did not want anyone entering the park or spying on its leisurely affairs. An open green space about the size of a commercial swimming pool served as a sort of nucleus. I was familiar with the park. I walked by it on my way to the lab but never stopped because it did not draw me. It was frequently devoid of people. I imagined the design of this unobstructed green area was a turn-off for most as it was for me the day I took Shawnson there. It had a cylindrical quality, and once you stepped inside the circle-hole, you were compelled to turn your body slowly and completely to view what all surrounded you—trees, spaces between trees, and a road with brisk-moving cars beyond. There was a sense someone could emerge from anywhere within the 360 degree angle, that they were on their way, and there was nothing you could do about it.

Shawnson led me confidently into the green space as if he went there all the time and sat on his haunches to pant. I didn’t know how old the dog was but I had hoped he’d be more energetic. It was late summer, the sun was out, and the wind trembled around us. I was experiencing mild distress standing motionless inside this arboreal amphitheater, but I waited for a little while. I noticed Shawnson looking strictly in one direction where the cars were gushing past. A red sedan was pulled over on the side of the road. A man held a notebook against the passenger window, a cell phone to his ear, a pen in his hand as he scribbled. There was nothing to see as far as I was concerned, so I pulled Shawnson over to the lone bench and gently pet his head. I wasn’t in a hurry to return to the lab. I had written a full page of notes on a particular sea urchin embryo right before meeting Shawnson. The notes had left me tired and in a strange mood. Soul-sapping, the way the cells of the embryo replicated. If I were to talk about what I wrote, display my fuzzy pencil-drawings for you, I’d be even more tired. You, who listens, would invariably ask questions, and that is precisely what I don’t want. It is enough to say that in my notes, along the margins of paper that will be freely excluded from my final drafts, I pretend to be dumb to the color a sea urchin embryo will be when it develops into a full-grown sea urchin. The color is coded in its DNA, but in the moment of my watch the embryo is see-through. Its cells divide like a silent movie. I will tell you something entirely different, something personal: for several years I have been seeing a shade of red when I close my eyes to sleep. The red is of the darkest possibility, like tarry blood. Not a spot or floater, but a uniform slate. When my lids shut it feels as if I’m arriving at a place I don’t recognize and that someone will be there to greet me with poison. I can easily leave by opening my eyes, but it’s hard to do this when I’m so tired. In my heart I know I don’t need a doctor. I’m not sick.

Shawnson lost interest in the man by his car. The dog seemed hot, the way he was looking around; when a creature is hot there is little else they can do but watch what’s going on around them. I got up from the bench and walked him home. I filled the dog’s water bowl and ate the sandwich Shawn left for me, happy by its deliciousness. I roamed his small living room. A disco ball glittered high above the coffee table. Books were piled on the floor by the couch. An acoustic guitar rested on a slim stand. Did Shawn serenade his girlfriend in the evening? Did she live there? I knew little about his personal life. I swiped at the strings. The dog curled up in his bed, a navy blue bean bag in the corner by a fern. He paid me no mind as I left for the lab.

Adult sea urchins require little maintenance. Ours clung to the walls of seawater tanks maintained at 15°C. My lab mates and I fed them kelp and collected their gametes by shaking them with great force over a glass beaker. We then mixed a drop of sperm into a glass bowl of egg-infused sea water and waited twenty-four hours for the eggs to be fertilized. We collected the embryos by spinning the seawater in a centrifuge we cranked by hand. This was always the most fun part of the process. To me it seemed like I was taking these babies on a carnival ride. I was the ride operator, in control of how fast or slow they spun around. I had to take it slow if I didn’t want to damage them. I followed the procedures. I wanted them to thrive. If you think I was going to sabotage my own research, that I would have allowed the dark red concept to induce in me docility, you are mistaken. That is not to say it won’t ever happen. It’s foolish to assume a certain thing could never happen. Everything has already happened and will continue to happen again.

No one believes the following story: when I was ten, a dog trotted up to my family’s front door and rang the doorbell. I couldn’t believe my luck. I named him Simon. Unfortunately my mom made me trick the dog into the neighbor’s lawn with a bread roll. Years later the dog was still playing and pooping on their grass. There he went by the name Queso. I’d smile and wave when he ran in wide circles, but he never recognized me. In all honesty, no dog would have faired well in our household. We had a sad house. All of us—my mom, dad, and me—were always crying. We cried during dinner, movie rentals, and phone calls. We watched each other run to various rooms in the house to hide our “tears of the day.” That’s how I finish the story. Do you believe it?

I walked Shawnson the following day but didn’t take him to the park. We walked instead about a half mile past the park to a shopping center. I needed toiletries. Soap, Ibuprofen, toothpaste, a blade cartridge. For this errand, I wanted the dog with me. I planned to tie his leash to a pole. My wish was for people to admire him as I shopped. I imagined walking out of the store with my plastic bag and catching a stranger petting him. “Is this your dog?” “Yes,” I’d say. I was, in a way, his surrogate master. In the lab I was the same. My arms and hands were ocean currents. They moved about the stark room, driving life.

The dog behaved differently as we walked—a sudden friend. Occasionally he turned his head and peered at me with his golden eyes, less serious, checking to make sure I was still with him. When we reached the shopping center, he sat and gazed at me expectantly as though waiting for me to throw an object, one he would clench with his mouth and dutifully return to me—the normal stuff of dogs that I, at one time, thought would be mine. I carried nothing, so I searched the vicinity for something on the loose. A stick around somewhere, I thought at the time. Where was a stick when you needed one? Couldn’t be far. I walked to a small tree planted in a bed of mulch in the parking lot. I snapped off a weak branch and threw the stick a good distance, several parking spots away. It hit the window of a white pickup truck and bounced into the open asphalt. Shawnson turned to look but wouldn’t fetch it. “Go get it, Shawnson!” I yelled in an excited high pitch I’d heard others use with dogs. Shawnson only scuttled closer and tilted his black face to mine. I was sure he would bark—I had yet to hear his voice—but he lavished me with silence. His golden eyes would not relax their grip on me. I was distressed. Why exactly, I don’t know, but our connection caused me deep anxiety. I wouldn’t sleep well that night. I remind you: the dark red shade was not an apparition. It didn’t materialize behind my eyelids, rather, I arrived at that slipstream of color.

“Shawnson, do you feel anything strange when you look at me?” I said. “Do you sense there’s someone inching toward me?” Shawnson remained quiet. I tied him to a tow zone sign and entered the store.

Shawn’s name popped brightly on my cell phone screen. I was in lab. Typically I rejected interruptions while tending the sea urchin embryos, but I thought for a moment the dog was calling. I hoped. I heard my woof-name barked into my ear. Woo-woof. Maybe Wa-woofa.

Shawn thanked me for walking his dog. He said the dog’s mood had improved significantly. The baseboards were no longer being chewed up and the dog had stopped his late night howling. Owwooh, I heard. I had no idea Shawn had been having problems with Shawnson. I thought I was merely walking him because dogs needed to be walked. But Shawn made it seem like I was helping the dog above and beyond how he’d hoped.

“Where did you get Shawnson?” I said.

“Dara gave him to me. She adopted him from an animal shelter. You looking to get a dog?” Shawn said.

“No. He just seems different than other dogs.” In truth I had no idea where Shawnson fell on the bell curve of dog personalities. I stroked my kneecap as though it were Shawnson’s head. “Have you ever had a conversation with him?”

Shawn laughed. “All the time. He’s my buddy. He’s the best to talk to. No judgements.”

I liked Shawn. I thought maybe if I told him what was happening to me at night, he’d understand. He might even have an explanation. I was worried he’d tell his girlfriend. She was already tentative around me. She said hello very politely and never initiated a hug. She asked a few questions about my research in lab, and while I appreciated that, I was curious about her partiality to the barest surface details. She played a lot of basketball. I attributed her composure to a kind of high-level sportsmanship. If she was startled by me, I never knew because she didn’t display any signs. And isn’t that the thing—if you learn to control an emotion or condition, it’s almost the same as not having it. Almost. Could she see my atrocity?

As for Shawn and me, we interacted within a narrow hem of latitudes. Outside this region lay our true potential for kinship, and outside that, in a parallel universe, I trusted Shawn in a rudimentary way. There I existed freely in the face of my odious tenure. I was sure I’d never be accepted here on Earth with Shawn or any other human being. But I saw myself here with his dog.

I have said nothing about my sea urchin research, and won’t until it is published, but I will mention an important historical fact about them: the sea urchin was the first animal to be successfully cloned from an embryo. In 1885, a scientist by the name of Hans Adolf Eduard Driesch observed that by shaking a sea urchin embryo in the two-cell stage, the cells separated and developed into complete sea urchins. The two-cell stage is the most interesting to me. The furrow, where cleavage of the one-cell to two-cell occurs, is longitudinal in nature. If you let the embryo cleave on its own, it becomes one organism. If you shake it at just the right moment, one becomes two. How incredible that time and space and movement have the ability to affect the life cycle. We are dependent on a polar axis. We wouldn’t be here without one. I wonder if at night I’m cleaving. I fear if I stopped cleaving, I’d develop into an unrecognizable organism.

The next morning I discovered the water in my tank had warmed to 31°C. We had at the lab a fiberglass heat exchanger that could be immersed in water to increase the temperature. It was used mainly by lab mates who studied the effects of climate change on marine invertebrates. The heat exchanger was in the tank, but there was no one around to ask why it was there. The sea urchins had all spawned and died in a cloud, as if they had succumbed to an underwater brush fire.

You may know that labs are notorious settings for calamity. Experiments take a wrong turn, re-dos are commonplace. The lab manager would examine the log soon enough and see I was the last person to record the temperature and salinity of the water. Whether or not the casualty was due to my negligence is immaterial. I’ll tell you anyway. It wasn’t me. A new shipment of sea urchins could be overnighted. There was no attachment to those specific creatures. This is where I remind us: all humans have a blind spot, but that of a scientist’s can change or destroy the world; can drive a scientist mad.

The putrid smell of dead sea urchins. I left the lab for Shawn’s apartment though it wasn’t even close to lunchtime. Shawnson was waiting for me by the door. I didn’t bother entering the foyer. I secured his leash and stepped aside to allow him room to pass me. He hurried out the door and took a left, in the opposite direction of the park.

We walked for close to an hour. I got the feeling Shawnson was leading me to an unknown destination, one he’d recognize as soon as he arrived. Whenever I tugged on the leash the dog pushed forward with great force, not to defy me, but to get me close to a tremendous tree. He sniffed around the base of the trunk for a while and I spent time admiring what I could. The texture and color. The circumference and canopy. Shawnson would eventually piss on the tree and take me to another. They were street trees, planted between the road and sidewalk for the sake of the cityscape. The repetitive nature of the walk—stopping at a tree, staying for a bit, leaving for a new tree—mimicked the monotony of discovery in lab. There was such slowness in my work. Only in years of unvaried control did insight occur.

I’d counted fifty-three trees when I realized we were standing in front of my own apartment complex. I lived alone in a one-bedroom. The building was a brick mid-rise, well-insulated; it was possible to never hear your neighbors coming and going once you locked yourself inside your quarters. I wasn’t certain Shawnson had actually led me there, nor was I conscious of choosing our route. Either way we were there, and there was no point standing on the sidewalk staring through the windows as if we didn’t belong. We walked through the front entrance and rode the elevator to the third floor.

My apartment had an open floor plan, the living room and kitchen essentially on opposite sides of the same room. The previous renters had painted the living room a medium-light blue, which reminded me of postal stamps. The kitchen was a pale yellow. My bedroom was off to the side: a bed, a nightstand, a lamp, and my sea urchin shell. I once had sage curtains dressing the window; these I ended up stripping off in the night in a moment of distress. Most of my belongings were concentrated outside the bedroom. A sea urchin poster hung next to the TV. My bromeliad by the window. A silver frame with a picture of my parents and me, all of us sad, drinking wine at a vineyard. I had a three-star blender. The apartment was fine.

Shawnson seemed curious. I took him off the leash and he launched himself on a mini tour, smelling mostly the spaces underneath the chairs. I lay on the couch with my legs straight, one arm dangling off the side. The dog eventually positioned his head underneath my hand and plopped down on the floor next to me. I rolled onto my side to watch him and he watched right back. “Shawnson,” I said. “Do I have a sad house? Could you see yourself living here?” As expected, the dog didn’t bark. I tried a new question. The only question. “Do you see something dark in me? Something you don’t want to behold?” The dog’s golden eyes seized me. His look had a great unburdening power and I wondered if I was mistaken about my cursed interiority. I wondered if the red I was seeing, I was seeing it wrong. There could be ways of animalizing that masked or amplified a human’s special inner dimensions.

I felt tired. I walked to my bedroom and called Shawnson to follow. I patted my bed but the dog wouldn’t jump up. I patted again, harder as if to punish the mattress, and the dog obeyed. I lay down next to him and he curled his spine close to my side. I kissed the dog’s neck and cheek. The dog licked my mouth. His fur was sleek on my palm as I rubbed his head. The sun beamed squarely on us through the window. I hugged Shawnson and closed my eyes. I landed on a deep red surface.

I landed on a deep red surface. Shawnson was by my side. I could see his shape, the kicking of legs and swatting paws. He seemed to be swimming, through what I don’t know—swimming through layers of red. I could hear his calm panting as we lay in my bedroom, the distant buzz of my refrigerator, the creak of a board from the ceiling or wall. The sounds were where I was but the sight was a different room. I realized I was in two places at once, and there was no way to know where the second place was unless I went all the way in. If I had known I needed to swim, I would have done so sooner. I separated my arms and legs slow and wide to propel myself. I stayed with Shawnson. At first it didn’t seem like we were going anywhere, but then the red started to grow darker, and the sounds of my apartment grew fainter, until finally we were moving in utter black quiet.

Does this sound like a dream to you? I wish it was, but I assure you it wasn’t. I was lost in the darkness, unsure of how to return to my bedroom, forgetting I could open my eyes. I called “Shawnson!”—I could no longer make out his animal presence. I drew a sigh of relief when I felt his warm body rub against my arm. I grabbed on to his neck vigorously and somehow my shoes fell off my feet, as though I was employing the tactics of an oblivious child.

Either someone was approaching us or we were approaching them. Here is where my experience becomes hard to illustrate. I was afraid of the unknown, for sure, but I was most afraid of certainty. Imagine if someone knew everything about you. They knew why you couldn’t sleep at night. Why you became a scientist. They knew how you fell in love, who you would fall in love with, your velocity, your pulse, how much water was in you. All the things you found funny, your laugh in a pie chart, your blood type, your probability of surviving natural disasters, the morsels that affect the consistency of your excrement. Imagine if someone stretched or shortened the length of your vocal chords, if everything you said was examined in great detail, played loudly over speakers, predicted with remarkable accuracy. Imagine if you were completely understood. You are now moving toward this person who understands you—or they are moving toward you—in an empty red night.

I felt no relief. I felt only that I was coming to an end.

When I opened my eyes, we were again in my bedroom. My shoes were on the floor. Shawnson was bumping his nose against my hand. I had always wanted a dog, and I thought, maybe, a dog had always wanted me.

Thursday Shawn didn’t need me to walk Shawnson because he had the day off. Shawn was a cook at a chain restaurant. I had never eaten at his specific restaurant, only others like it. Even if I had there was no guarantee Shawn would have made my sandwich, which was what I would have wanted. I asked if I could come over anyway to walk his dog. Shawn said yes.

When I arrived, there were two sandwiches wrapped in plastic and stacked on the kitchen counter. Peanut butter and banana. “Want to go on a hike?” Shawn said, loading the food in a backpack. He was going with or without me. The dog’s ears were perked and his head followed Shawn’s movements.

“Yes,” I said. I squatted low to greet the dog but he stayed put, close to Shawn.

“Good,” Shawn said. “You’ll need better shoes.” He left the room and returned holding a pair of blue sneakers and white socks. “These are Dara’s, size 8. Could you fit into these?”

I pulled off my brown loafers and tried the sneakers on. They were one size too big, but I tied them tight so my ankle wouldn’t slip. “They’re perfect,” I said.

We lived in a city with large hills and small mountains nearby. It was easy to go on day hikes, but I never went into the woods. If I went outside, I was at the ocean. Or more recently, on the local streets with Shawn’s dog. The ocean was too far to walk to, but not too far to drive and spend a few hours. I knew the tide schedule by heart. I knew the phases of the moon. I checked the weather every morning and every night, though I mostly stayed indoors within the confines of my lab. Does this surprise you? I never mentioned that I love the outdoors. But I am a scientist. You can’t see an embryo in daylight; you only see what it becomes. My job is to watch the embryo arrive at itself, and often, to disrupt this process. At times I feel I am growing into something else. Or that something else is growing into me.

Out of the three of us, the dog was the best hiker. He stayed a little ways ahead on the trail and didn’t tire on the inclines. He looked back at Shawn every now and then. I pocketed small black rocks and flung them into the trees when I found better ones to replace them. Shawn carried a camera and stopped to photograph the light shifting through the woods. I remember how natural our persistence was. We passed one hiker as they descended. The hiker smiled and moved out of our way.

I wasn’t used to spending time with Shawn in this manner. We typically met up on campus at the student emporium. I wondered if his girlfriend was playing basketball. I hoped Shawn would take a picture of me and his dog at the summit without me having to ask.

“I’ve been enjoying walking your dog,” I said. “In fact, I’ve been hoping you’ll let me adopt him.”

Shawn laughed. “Dara would be very upset if I gave him to you. I’d be upset too, but she would literally kill me.”

“What would happen if you broke up? Would she take the dog?”

“No way. He lives with me. I wouldn’t let her.”

“Maybe she’s an Indian giver,” I said. And then I told him a story. I told him about the dog that rang my doorbell when I was a young girl. I explained how I wanted to keep him but my mom said no. I watched him live with my neighbors though they had no claim to him. The dog appeared out of nowhere. He was clean and well-trained but didn’t wear a collar. It was clear he belonged to someone else.

“That’s sad,” Shawn said. “It’s pretty easy to get a dog, though. It sounds like you really want one.”

“Do you believe that dog rang my doorbell?” I said.

“I believe a person rang the doorbell and ran off,” he said.

I’ve never told this part of the story, but I will tell you now: when I saw the yellow Lab sitting on my family’s front porch, I ran outside to see who had left him. I was sure I’d see a person running off our driveway, a car pulling away, but there was no one. The street in front of our house was empty. I didn’t believe anyone could disappear that fast. Maybe someone had found him and thought he was ours. But my parents didn’t talk to other people. They chose to know no one. I didn’t believe a dog could ring a doorbell, never mind if it even would. But now, after Shawnson, I thought maybe this was possible.

“Can I tell you a secret?” I said. I stopped walking. “Well, not a secret, but something?”

“No,” he said, continuing on the trail.

“No one ever says no.”

“I meant yes. Tell me.” He swung around to face me. His hands pulled on the straps of his backpack. The dog had turned around the next bend and I could no longer see him. I spread my toes inside my too-large shoes.

“There’s something dark inside of me and I’m afraid it will take me.” I said this as seriously as I could fully expecting him to laugh. He did.

“There’s nothing dark inside of you,” Shawn said, smiling. But he lingered on my face as though trying to see it.

“Shawnson sees it.”

Shawnson, at the sound of his name, appeared again ahead of us.

“Okay, I think you might be a little dog crazy.” He waited for me to say more, but I had no further information. Those were my observations. I couldn’t prove anything, but I had ideas and needed to try someone. Shawn, in a parallel universe, might have said something better. What, I don’t know, but there are different ways of animalizing.

Shawn and I weren’t that close. We interacted on Earth on the same horizontal plane. The dog and I worked perpendicular.

My dream lab has an inlet cutting through the floor where ocean water flows freely over a bed of craggy rocks. At low tide I pluck the sea urchins like flowers in a meadow. The walls are single panes of glass. The sun rises and sets.

The most beautiful of animals is the sea urchin. The simplest of animals to research is the sea urchin. I knew this to some extent when I started my work on them, but I had no idea how consuming their presence would become. There is so much to say about them and yet I don’t like to talk about them. The things I say, no one believes. I could say I’m atrocious, but people will say I’m good and kind. I don’t need reassurance. I need a scientist. I know I am the good one.

I did what I had to. I received the sea urchin delivery on Friday. I removed them from the boxes of ice and placed them into individual plastic cups of sea water. The cups bobbed on the surface of the tank. There was nothing left to do but wait and hope they’d survive the transfer. I went to Shawn’s apartment. I cradled Shawnson in my arms and carried him to my car. He was heavy but I used all of my muscles and this worked. I placed him in the front seat, rolled down the window and drove. I drove for two hours until I reached a different part of the ocean. I parked in a sandy lot. The dog bounded out of the car when I opened the door for him. He took off straight for the boardwalk and looked back at me once before trotting along. I followed him. The dog knew where to take me. We played in the tide pools. I hurled a washed-up stick and he chased it and returned it to me. We clambered over the wet rocks. I bent down low to look for living creatures. He barked at the breaking waves and shook his coat, spraying me with the cold water. He barked at a seagull. He barked at me. There were other people with their dogs and we said hello to one another. We stayed to watch the sunset, and when the last of the orange light sunk below the horizon, we got in the car and kept driving. I drove past the monument and the twin bridges. I drove through H-town and B-town, past the tax-free liquor store. I passed an abandoned train depot, a billboard for a space museum, a closed ice cream hut. Thousands of other people’s doors. I didn’t drive slow but I didn’t drive fast. I drove across the state line. The dog was fine, showing me where to go. We fell asleep in my car, parked at a highway rest stop.

mn_2091Marisela Navarro’s short fiction is forthcoming in Hobart and Tahoma Literary Review and has appeared in SmokeLong QuarterlyWigleaf, 100 Word Story and elsewhere. She lives in Boston. She received an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College and a Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of Florida.


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