Zoltan, Dog of Dracula

“There is much to be learned from beasts.” ~ Bram Stoker’s Dracula, 1992

Through a radio Halloween feature, I learn
that among the more than 200 films made
on the world’s most famous vampire

was one about Zoltan, the hound
of Dracula
— I haven’t seen it,
but it sounds like a potboiler:

Russian dog saves innkeeper
mistress from being bitten by a bat,
who is Dracula in disguise; furious,

hungry bat bites dog, turning it
into a vampire. Vampire dog now
turns against its owner, and the circle

of bloodlust widens in the lower
registers. But wouldn’t it have been
just a matter of time, this democratic

sort of extension of the food chain
from nobleman-monster to villager
to dog? Just as now, all the hippest

chefs are turning to blood as thickener,
organic coloring or rehydrating agent;
rediscovering the richness and depth

a little blood can bring to the palate—
slices of Spanish morcilla, French boudin noir
served up with apples; British black pudding

patted around a pickled egg, coils of pinuneg smoked
over a fire in the Philippine cordillera. Farther back,
in Book 18 of the Odyssey, a sizzling sausage

of goat’s blood and fat is given to the victor
in a fight. Leftovers are handed around:
everyone wins. So when the Russian

road construction crew in the movie
stumbles on a strange crypt and one
worker pries loose the stake

from the remains of a dog with a hole
in its heart— possibly thinking
Poor Ponchik, poor donut

of course the demon dog comes back
to life. Of course it remembers the last
sweet-salty taste that coursed down

its throat. Of course it wants that destiny time
cannot alter; hungers for a love no blade could
disembowel, no rain of silver bullets could kill.

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