Short stories about animals
‘Short Stories About’ takes on a different unifying theme every issue, and this time it’s ‘Animals’. Dog and cat ownership has increased so wildly in lockdown that major UK supermarkets are running out of pet food, which makes the magazine timely reading. A homage to the devotion and strangeness of animal-lovers, the first piece in the issue, ‘God’s Spies’, is about a dog walker convinced that animals are “silent witnesses for God, spying on our behaviour”.
Not everything in this issue is so sweet. One poem, by Josep A Chanza, is about killing rabbits:
I always helped with the kill: swift,
skin and quarter, sometimes
a Pollock-like inscription splashing
the sun-eaten walls of the patio.
She cooked them the same day with rice…
What the contributions to this issue have in common is an attention to the contradictions of love: what we project onto the animals we love; the way you can love a rabbit and then order it in a restaurant; the way a pet can be as loved as much as a human friend, or a human child. One of my favourite pieces in the issue is an interview with the artist Becki Flack, who likes to dress her pet chihuahua up as Frida Kahlo and then paint her.