William Zora Hesse, dog psychologist of the Inner West

The only shrink in the Inner West to bulk bill
is a 6-year-old chocolate labrador called William Zora Hesse.
Our first session, he sat on his mat
ears like the flaps of a velvet deerstalker
and I tapped on my knees and shins – anxious drummer.

“I’m trying to fight this feeling, that
I’m trapped on this starship Earth
with a brutal race of lizards. And then
I think about the ibis.”

Hesse met my eyes with a guileless melancholy
lost to the bold experiment of men.

“The children chase these garbage birds
across the grass, their parents sleepsick, bedraggled
and I worry how to raise a child among the rats
in the era of terror and confusion.”

He yawns, his grey tongue curling like a hook.
On the northern wall there is a photo of Freud and his chows.

“What is there to do but drink?
No one writes or calls, we’re all distracted
How will I make friends when I’m older?
When my mother dies, will I still be someone’s son?”

He goes over to his roll-top desk,
pushes aside a prescription pad with his muzzle
and starts to chew on a warm, plastic bottle. It is crushed
with a forgiving sound.

“Doctor, I doubt emotions exist.
What is anger, grief and despair
if not license to revisit childhood’s viciousness?
What would they do with the ibis, Dr Hesse?
What would they do if they caught it?”

I am standing, crying. And William Zora Hesse
raises up on his magnificent paws
and barks, once, twice, three times more
and runs from the room.




Daniel East is an Australian writer currently working on the second draft of his novel. He blogs over at dteast.wordpress.com and he hopes you are well.

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