We didn’t know Co Anh’s dog had been pregnant until it gave birth. The offspring was disfigured. Widow Co Anh turned this horror into luck. A sixth dog toe, she bragged. A sixth dog toe on each dog foot. Its parents were siblings. When the white people from the ad had asked if she was sure of taking both brother and sister, she had said of course. Family should never be separated. A year later, the dog
sister was shivering underneath the backyard stoop, a lump voraciously suckling. At first, Co Anh had thought the lump to be a mongrel. The dog sister had been slipping through the backyard gate and running into the streets filled with mariachi music and excited mutts. Then, Co Anh saw the toes. For proof, Co Anh brought the dog child to a family gathering. Stroke a dog foot, she said. It will grant your wishes. Cau Hai humored her. He wished to quit smoking. The next day, Cau Hai went on about how he hadn’t touched a cigarette yet that day. He’d rather smoke it with his asshole than his mouth. Chi Hiep was next. She wished to turn her husband’s harsh fists into sweet words. Her husband then fell into a manhole while working construction. Bedridden, he couldn’t reach her to reprimand her. Widow Co Anh reserved the third wish for herself. She closed her eyes and refused to tell.