Talking to Dogs

When I was 19 years old, I bought a pit bull from two shamans on 4th Avenue in Tucson.

“What’s a shaman?” I asked the women, who sat cross-legged on the corner, wearing patchwork strips of buckskins, suede, and varying leather textures, selling rare gems and puppies, as if they were in the same product line. Their skin also blended into shades of leather, the exchange of absorbing decades of desert sun.

“It’s like a spiritual guru. We understand the alignments of the stars, we see things, we engage a transcendence of the material world and use ritual to access a spiritual world…we understand animals and their connection to the earth…”

The taller woman had piercing green eyes, the kind you don’t trust, as if they were stolen, like rare gems, too glaring, too bright, for someone with such tanned skin. She puffed from a rolled cigarette and pushed the puppies towards me, starting to haggle, like we were at a street market in a third-world country. Continue reading “Talking to Dogs”