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The Dog Analysis

Author: poem of Gerald Stern Type: poem Views: 15

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What I was doing with my white teeth exposed

like that on the side of the road I don't know,

and I don't know why I lay beside the sewer

so that the lover of dead things could come back

with is pencil sharpened and his piece of white paper.

I was there for a good two hours whistling

dirges, shrieking a little, terrifying

hearts with my whimpering cries before I died

by pulling the one leg up and stiffening.

There is a look we have with the hair of the chin

curled in mid-air, there is a look with the belly

stopped in the midst of its greed. The lover of dead things

stoops to feel me, his hand is shaking. I know

his mouth is open and his glasses are slipping.

I think his pencil must be jerking and the terror

of smell—and sight—is overtaking him;

I know he has that terrified faraway look

that death brings—he is contemplating. I want him

to touch my forehead once again and rub my muzzle

before he lifts me up and throws me into

that little valley. I hope he doesn't use

his shoe for fear of touching me; I know,

or used to know, the grasses down there; I think

I knew a hundred smells. I hope the dog's way

doesn't overtake him, one quick push,

barely that, and the mind freed, something else,

some other, thing to take its place. Great heart,

great human heart, keep loving me as you lift me,

give me your tears, great loving stranger, remember,

the death of dogs, forgive the yapping, forgive

the shitting, let there be pity, give me your pity.

How could there be enough? I have given

my life for this, emotion has ruined me, oh lover,

I have exchanged my wildness—little tricks

with the mouth and feet, with the tail, my tongue is a parrots's,

I am a rampant horse, I am a lion,

I wait for the cookie, I snap my teeth—

as you have taught me, oh distant and brilliant and lonely.

Anonymous submission.


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