Five years ago, we walked down the hurricane-splintered streets into a blacked-out animal shelter full of dogs howling. A single shaft of light from a window high up on the wall fell on a piece of paper tacked onto the side of a small metal cage. Someone cued the Hallelujah Chorus.
We took the shaking dog up to the desk and said we'd like to keep him. The girl asked what name we wanted on his papers. We looked at each other and nodded and said Fyodor Dostoevsky. She said you'd better write it down yourselves.
We started the walk home, stepping over areas where thirty foot palms lay across the street like pick up sticks. His little legs were atrophied; he could only make it a half block. Matthew carried him the rest of the way. We could smell Chinese food cooking; the take-out place near the fence we hopped was lit up by a large kerosene flame. A man was bent over a wok, cooking the meat before it went bad. There was a line already; the peanut butter could wait a few more days.
We passed the pool. It looked like it was full of mate, like you could just add sugar and suck it through a metal straw. We took him home. He was exactly what we needed.
A visit home to Washburn Wisconsin
6 days ago