Phil by Karen Walker

This is Phil in his younger days. He passed in November 2019.

Minute one: I tell Phil he’ll be free. No more vomiting, pain, or bitter pills. That he’ll run fast again. That there’ll be lots of squirrels and sunshine forever. Minute two: I tell him I love him, filling sixty seconds with our nine years. Three: Force a smile and laugh about puppyhood. How he chewed new carpet, once pooped on the bed. Whaaat? I sob through minute four, tracing the black stripes in his grey fur. Five: kiss Phil’s long nose, hug him, then nod to the vet. I watch his chest rise and fall, rise and fall. Rise. Fall.


The story behind the story:

This story is near and dear to me, and I’ve never cried more over what I’ve written. I guess that was my process: crying. “Phi” is an expression of the old saying that the only sadness animals bring us is when they leave us. While specifically about my whippet, the piece is really a candle in the window to all pets loved and lost.

Karen writes short in a low basement. Her work is in or forthcoming in FlashBack Fiction, Reflex Fiction, Bullshit Lit, Blank Spaces, Ghost City Press, Alien Buddha Press, Roi Fainéant Lit Press, Funny Pearls, and others. She/her. @MeKawalker883

“Phil” was first published in Five Minute Lit.

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