Claire Poulter

dəˈzī(ə)r dôg (Desire dog) (2014)

Groups of black text paragraphs on a white background, typeset to form various oblong or rhomboid shapes spaced haphazardly around each other, with tiny, basic black symbols showing things like dogs and other icons. The text tells a story: 'I just witnesses a dog running alongside me on the pavement, it was a small dog, a dauschund I think, with wagging ears and a lolling tongue. It had no collar and a gleeful, upturned expression as it looked behind. I continued to cycle next to it in the road, this dog was fast. It was really quick! The small dog turned its head to look where it had been. I looked behind me. Following its gaze, I saw a young man, a bit younger than myself, running. He had clear perspex frames adorning his face, which as you can imagine, was beautiful in the light. He shouted to an older man on the pavement who was stationary in front of him, who stared stonily back unaffected. I cycled on, keeping pace, the dog stopped for a second, the owner continued his sprint then just as he was within two metres of the dog, she bounded off again. I went to chase the dog too, towards the dog, past the dog and stopped in the road, and carefully positioned myself on the traffic side to avoid some danger. My hands were outstretched and I was bending down in anticipation of the dogs path, but she weaved out past me into the road and so I cried out stop. I wasn't sure what I was saying. The traffic on the road was many and fast. I watched the dog run along at its pace in the road, just on the white painted edge of the cycle path. Closer to the cars. The dog continued to run faster. The owner, who was still running, caught my eye, 'not to worry' he said, quite calmly. Conveniently, the dog had clambered back onto the pavement and had paused. She was looking at us both, with a perturbingly sloppy grin on her face. A man further down the street had analysed the spactacle and was crouched in wait. The man and I began to approach but as expected, the dog was off again, and the boy chasing after him and I was still on my bike. The crouched man ahead was directly in the dog's path. I got back on my bike, the man had just caught pace. I called out to him that I was sorry, both for my failure to catch the dog and for causing her to stray from her path onto one more dangerous. So the man continued to run. A black car to the right had slowed and aws curiously drifting ahead of me into my cycle lane. Behind it, a large man on the passenger side of a white van was smirking and pointing, his other hand half opened the door, as if to grab her while his vehicle was still in transit. This is it I thought - he is bound to catch the dog - he is so far in front. But she had twisted inexplicably and quickly out of his way. He didn't move but turned his head in shock, half staring at his hands. But the dog turned left, down a side street, away from the traffic and off of my route home. The man followed her. '
Published in HOAX’s kids’ issue, OAKS

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