Fidelis Reinvented

by Lisa Timpf

"Look, Mom," Nessie says

and her mother Tashu turns to watch

as Nessie teaches her candroid dog

a new trick

unbidden, a memory:

Tashu tossing the tennis ball

for her German Shepherd Tuffy

his feet pounding across the grass—

real grass—

of course, Tashu tells herself,

real dogs have their drawbacks

and she smiles as she remembers

the spit-soaked ball

the pong of wet fur

the mucky paws

besides, there's not much space for dogs to run

on a colony ship

"Shake," Nessie says

the candroid lifts its left forepaw

placing it in the girl's hand

Tashu nods encouragement

through a haze of tears

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