The Dog Needs Botox

A sestina. with the six repeating words chosen by jess, john & sveta.

He gets up every morning at 6am to walk the dog.

At this time of year, the ground is thick with frost –

the stars his guiding light. Walking feeds his soul

and prepares him for home, where she, and conflict

await. Ageing, she insists, is only bearable with Botox.

He thinks she should just stop drinking wine.

She sees a time-ravaged face. All he sees is wine

flushed skin. They argue constantly. She kicks the dog

(who cowers and hides), because of Botox.

He walks miles in the wind, frost

rain and snow – just to escape the conflict

raging on her lips and in her soul.

‘What,’ she screams at him, ‘do you know about my soul?’

Her face is tight with frown lines. Her teeth stained with wine.

Once, she was beautiful and kind and calm and conflict

meant war overseas. Not at home, in front of the dog.

But now? His no to Botox is a fist of frost

in their lives. ‘It’s only fucking Botox –

what is your fucking problem? Everyone gets Botox!’

The first time he saw her he thought: There She Is! My soul-

mate. Standing in the falling snow with frost

dusting her eyelashes. He bought them both glühwein

and she told him she wanted no kids. Just a dog.

He agreed. To everything. And foresaw a future without conflict.

They were so happy. Other couples had conflict.

Not them. Until the day she said, ‘I need Botox.’

He thought she was joking and said, ‘like the dog

needs Botox.’ She said, ‘I thought you knew my soul –

inside out.’ He said, ‘I think you are mistaking soul for wine.’

And just like that – they invited in frost.

Now, he remembers fairy tales about Jack Frost.

Frost – who demanded brave laughter in the face of conflict.

Who shunned gold, silks, furs, jewels, warm Tuscan wine

and would have frozen her breath and tears over Botox

saying: ‘Ageing is normal. Your soul

does not crave Botox, but the love of your dog.’

But she chooses wine. He chooses frost.

And the dog, embracing conflict

bites her face. She gets Botox after all. He loses her soul.

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