BintElNas: Web of Dreams

Halfbreeds for my dog Grace  Joanna Kadi



After your words of praise
for this wild canine,
I served details
while Grace crunched oak.
"Didn't know those two mixed."
At this wellworn refrain,
my mouth puckered,
I worked to hide it
while explaining
her unanticipated entry
into the world.

You scrutinized Grace,
then me, my
yellow skin
a perfect cross of
father's brown
and mother's white.
I stared back
at freckles
on collision course
with African features.

Our laughter bumped in mid-air,
Grace howled, we followed suit,
bent double,
careful of bottle shards
at our feet,
three accidents in close proximity.

In the dream
you both dashed
for the open field
leashes left behind
police in full pursuit.
I could not keep up
my bare feet soon bloody
on hot pavement.
I stood and watched
heart bursting,
they followed canine and human
the chase extending
so far
I could not tell
which dark body
was thrown down to the ground
ground down
beaten to a pulp.

Dog, woman, man
all of us mutts
"Didn't know those two mixed."
Visible reminders of
transgressive leaps
across social sanctions.
Too dark by half.

This essay is reprinted by permission from Joanna Kadi's book Thinking Class: Sketches from a Cultural Worker, copyright 1996 by Joanna Kadi, published by South End Press.

South End Press is a collectively run 20-year-old publishing group of more than 200 titles that nurture and inspire radical social change. For a free catalog, please write to South End Press, 7 Brookline Street, #1, Cambridge, MA 02139, call 1-800-533-8478; or visit their website at

All illustrations and writing Copyright 1999 The Author except where otherwise noted.
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