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Dawn Abeita

Dawn Abeita

Dawn Abeita has published in American Fiction, Fiction Weekly and The Potomac. She earned an MFA from Warren Wilson College and has been a fellow at the The MacDowell Colony and Vermont Studio Center. She lives, writes and teaches in Atlanta, Georgia.


The day before my mother died our dog, Oblivious, hid under her bed. She was under there an afternoon, a night, and a morning when my mother made it worse by lying on the floor and handfeeding it bits of leftover hamburger. "When she gets hungry, she'll come out," I said. Several times. My mother did not believe she should listen to a twelve-year-old, only vice versa.

"What's gotten into her?" she asked. She was the one who named the dog.

I said, "Now she's going to poop under the bed. You'll have to move the bed to clean it up."

"You don't know everything," my mom said. "Don't you have homework?"

As I was leaving the room I smelled it, but I didn't say anything. I hurried outside, and I didn't come back in until it was almost dark. I was pretty preoccupied with myself back then.

"Are you happy now Mr. Know-it-All?" my mother said. She was sitting at the kitchen counter smoking a cigarette and absently flipping through the mail. Maybe it was the smoking that caused the aneurysm or maybe it was just something that happened. There are a lot of things in life you can never know for sure, that's for sure.

"I had to get under there to clean it up," she said, "and now the dog is outside. She can stay out for all I care."

"What's for dinner?" I said.

"Maybe you should make dinner," she said.

Just then the dog began to bark and scratch at the back door. "That dog will be the death of me," my mother said. "Let her in."

When I let the dog in it went into the bedroom and got on top of the bed where it wasn't allowed and put its head on the pillow and began to whine.

"I swear to God," my mother said. She was leaning against the doorjamb looking at Oblivious, cigarette sending up a smoke signal. Then she turned and went back to the kitchen.


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