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Is this a dagger which I see before me by Nancy Smiler Levinson

“Is this a dagger which I see before me”


They summoned the therapy dog

on call walking the hall

by the ophthalmology rooms

where the retina specialist

injects needles

into patients’ eyes --- eyeballs

The dog scampered to me

after my treatment

for macular degeneration

in my right eye and after

I rose from the tilted chair

startled at seeing a cluster of

sliced black olives

that couldn’t be brushed away

because they weren’t there

or in the air

or anywhere

I have thee not, and yet

I see thee still

I froze blinked,

then melted down

double double

toil and trouble

O that happens sometimes

everyone said

those bubbles

will dissolve and disappear

Disoriented as I’d become

I lost my balance

and fell against

a waiting room chair

That’s when they

called for Yolo

a big Australian labradoodle

caramel colored

Yolo O Yolo

standing soundless

accepting my embrace

in exchange for wooly comfort

Sometimes it’s hard

to be a human person

I whispered to him

I knew not the dog’s mind

Perhaps Yolo knew

what they knew

the sliced black olives

that I saw before me

would dissolve


by nightfall

all went well

that ended well


Nancy is author of work that has appeared in numerous lit journals,

including Rat's Ass, Voice of Eve, Global Poemic, Constellations,

and elsewhere. In past chapters of her life she published some

thirty books for young readers; one of her award-winning books

is "Chuck Yeager: The Man Who Broke the Sound Barrier."

She is a one-time Pushcart nominee for an anthologized essay,

"Online Dating in the Golden Years."

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