The Bag Dog Kaci Skiles Laws Poetry

local_library The Bag Dog

by Kaci Skiles Laws

Published in Issue No. 277 ~ June, 2020

We are driving when we notice

the punctures through the bag dog,

our conversations of school shootings


becoming commonplace, taken from a pile

of things we don’t say.

How cautious we are with

our accidental knives of concern

falling open;


how relevant the thing is blowing

in the air,

the thing we can’t name hung up

on a fence of searching—

its twig arms angry.


Over the road we are running like the conversation,

and it keeps getting more worrisome

to hear our kids’ stammer, the backseat heave,

their normal, their new fears and tatters,

the bag dog catching our attention,


the shifting of things not allowed

to exist everyday out loud. To be normal.

To be acceptable. To be a bag dog is to

be unreal, to allow chronic stress to be breakfast.


The littlest voice says, ‘Someone should take

it down.’ I ask, ‘What?’ But know.

It’s the disquieting rattle of it, always

as we confront this with the windows down.


It’s not as it seems. It’s a black mass

of wire in the corners of our eyes; its

a black bag when we stare straight.


After each pause we go faster

but don’t notice and can’t remember

which it is,

if our senses deceive us or

if our imaginations are loose.


The bag dog can’t exist, but it must

because we pass it everyday,

the rag beside the

road that forms its awkward limbs

like a cancer cell mutating into

what is left of our day.


account_box More About

Kaci Skiles Laws is a writer and artist living in Dallas—Fort Worth. Her work has been featured in The Letters Page, at Bewildering Stories, 50 Haikus, Former People, and is upcoming in The American Journal of Poetry, The Bollman Bridge Review, and Sub Rosa Zine. She won an award for her poem, This is How it Ends, by NCTC's English Department and is currently working on a children's book called The Boogerman. Some of her and her husband's visual artwork can be viewed on their YouTube channel listed under Kaci and Bryant.