Black Petals Issue #104, Summer 2023

Editor's Page
BP Artists and Illustrators
Mars-News, Views and Commentary
A Question of Money: Fiction by Eric Burbridge
Behold, a White Horse; Fiction by Spencer Jepma
Crawling Flesh: Fiction by Michael Stoll
Elm Weaver: N. G. Leonetti
Hunger: Fiction by Mark Jabaut
Mr. Fuzzypants: Fiction by Paul Radcliffe
Stop the World: Fiction by Roy Dorman
The Road Less Taken: Fiction by Albert N. Katz
The Washer Woman: Fiction by Sophia Wiseman-Rose
Underneath the Sheet: Fiction by Hillary Lyon
Shining Up Grandma: Fiction by Kenneth James Crist
The Children of 666 Middle School: Flash Fiction by M. L. Fortier
Bleed: Flash Fiction by Liam Spinage
Good Times: Flash Fiction by Ronin Fox
Time Lost: Flash Fiction by Bruce Costello
Unhappy Shadow: Flash Fiction by Paul Radcliffe
Cemetery Road: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
Chasing Desolation: Poem by Joseph V. Danoski
Detroit Jurassic: Poem by Joseph V. Donaski
Colonia Somnia: Poem by Bianca Alu-Marr
The Precipice: Poem by Bianca Alu-Marr
Dread: Poem by LindaAnn LoSchiavo
Home Movies: Poem by Christopher Hivner
Peppermint Twist: Poem by Christopher Hivner
There's Always Tomorrow Night: Poem by Christopher Hivner
Joke: Poem by DJ Tyrer
Ceramic Duck: Poem by Pete Mladinic
Choice: Poem by Pete Mladinic
To Stop the Killing: Poem by Pete Mladinic
Reaper: Poem by David Barber

Pete Mladinic: To Stop the Killing

To Stop the Killing


Pete Mladinic



Some think it’s preposterous to help a dog,

especially a mutt that is a thousand mutts,

a dog in a cage, a dog in a street, in a field

of tall grass, a dog on a chain in a yard

that, like the dog, looks neglected, a dog

that’s just there, unattended, neither fierce

nor cute, that if it’s lucky may be unchained

and in a shelter given water and food.

A dog no one sees or hears, a nondescript

four-legged creature, with a beating heart,

eyes devoid of hope, a dog no one wants,

a dog no one pets, much less notices.


A person thinks, Why help a dog, any dog?

I’ve got bills to pay.  Why give a dog time,

take a dog in?  Life’s complicated enough

already without complicating it with a pet.

How could a dog in any way better my life?

I’d rather watch Jeopardy,  wash my car,

in a casino feed coins into a slot machine.

I can do more with my time and money

than go to a shelter, and leave with a dog.

Peter Mladinic’s fifth book of poems, Voices from the Past, is forthcoming from Better Than Starbucks Publications.

An animal rights advocate, he lives in Hobbs, New Mexico, USA.

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