By Sarah Karowski

The internet tried to warn me. Dwarf hamsters 
don’t make good pets. Human interactions cause 
stress, but that’s why I liked Ms. Knubbles. People 

scare me, too. I’d slip on my gardener’s glove, 
the safest way to get her out, though sometimes her teeth 
still nicked my skin, her tiny arms flailing like a prisoner’s 

at the first sight of decency. We’d lie on the couch, together, 
little claws darting up & down my legs, behind my neck, 
nesting in my hair. I never cleaned her cage enough, didn’t 

change her water as often as I should, could have taken 
her out more. These animals can live up to three years 
in captivity. Ms. Knubbles enjoyed her half-life. At least 

that’s what Momma said. She made me remove her, lifeless 
weight in my hands, my skin crawled. I tucked smooth hair 
ball inside an old Christmas light box, padded tissue as paper 

coffin, made her a morbid present for the dirt. She died 
in peace, Momma says. At least she was loved. Did she feel it, 
though? Loved? Foreign affections in exchange for freedom—

would she not have been loved in the wild? Cage traded 
for fresh grass, neck nuzzles for her own kind? Snatch 
a child from her home & call it kindness.

About the author:

Sarah Karowski (she/her) recently finished her MFA at the Mississippi University for Women. Her work has been in featured in magazines like Prospectus: A Literary Offering and Mad Swirl, as well as in anthologies with Indie Blu(e) Publishing and Moonstone Arts Center. Her work is forthcoming in magazines like Drunk Monkeys, The Closed Eye, and The Elevation Review and anthologies with Five South, Quillkeepers, and Prickly Pear Press. Sarah is also the social media advisor for Thimble Literary Magazine. She is currently in Tallahassee, Florida with her partner and two dogs, and spends her free time trying to call dragonflies to her telepathically. Twitter & IG: @sarahkarowski

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