Norman Rockwell Steps on a Lego

by Bradley David

We never did have a human child. As such, other couplings gaze at us with those pitying eyes of incompleteness. A graying shack on their block, all trusses and tarps and never finished. Irreverently flapping in the wind to alert them of our unrealized possibilities. It's the way we cook our dog's meals from organic chicken and sweet potato, sling her poundage over our shoulders in a black limousine with tinted windows. Everywhere you can't take dogs is precisely where we do. Why not? They take their human children, and we've all seen what human children can accomplish. I will tell you that our dog does not pick her nose and wipe snot under the linen table cloth. She does not shit in a diaper for all the world to smell or wail at the top of her lungs for all the world to hear. At 35,000 feet she does not thrash in her buckle when her boredom drains her tablet's batteries. In fact, she is most polite at the Michelin-starred restaurants that absolutely disallow dogs. As long, of course, as we jab morsels of sous vide beef through her limo window. In that manner, she's traveled to thirty states and the coasts of Canada. She has scuttled every coast those boundaries have to offer without stomping the nest of a single endangered seabird. Have the couplings' human children taken so easily to such splendorous adventure? Have they set paw in so much North America? Have they done no damage whatsoever?

Once, one of those couplings had a dog that died. To their coupling network they announced its death. Emphasizing that it was not considered their "child," but, nonetheless, a pet whose presence they enjoyed and would be missed. I can tell you with absolute certainty that their dog never tasted anything that wasn't brown. Those types of humans fear freshness—its unpredictability and bacterial load. They think dogs are filthy and children are sculpted from an antibacterial porcelain clay of baby powder and wet wipes. They just want to eat 'em up, eat 'em up, eat 'em up! Then they lock their dogs in boxes. Make them hold their pee from eight until six. Meanwhile, their human children urinate in the swimming pools of hotels that don't allow dogs. Pools with signs posted for humans: Do not enter pool if you've had diarrhea within the past two weeks. Humans constantly need guidance posted on signage, lest they eat something raw or poop somewhere forbidden or stomp something sacred.

We could have had a human child, of course. It would have been a real hit. The other couplings just love watching two males swing one between them as though they're about to toss a horseshoe. They love the wonderment of it all. The danger. It lights a fire under their brown imaginations. They wonder which male sticks which part of his body into which part of the other. How our human child came about. The invisible female. To this day they tell us we should have a human child. How we would make splendid parents, what with the way we feed our dog homecooked meals and keep her butt chandelier-clean and sneak her into restaurants rather than locking her in a pee box.

With limo over one shoulder, we walk away not at all surprised that the natural manifestation of our inherent goodness has never been enough; returning to our airy home toddling with joyous silence.

About the author

Bradley David's poetry, fiction, essays, and hybrid works appear in Terrain, Plainsongs, Bureau of Complaint, Exacting Clam, Stone of Madness, Anti-Heroin Chic, and others. New work is forthcoming in Allium, Always Crashing, the museum of americana, and more. His work can be found at

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Menses, Desire, and the Monstrous Female