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Story Analysis

Author: Poetry of Stephen Dunn Type: Poetry Views: 200

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Different Hours2000A woman's taking her late-afternoon walk

on Chestnut where no sidewalk exists

and houses with gravel driveways

sit back among the pines. Only the house

with the vicious dog is close to the road.

An electric fence keeps him in check.

When she comes to that house, the woman

always crosses to the other side.I'm the woman's husband. It's a problem

loving your protagonist too much.

Soon the dog is going to break through

that fence, teeth bared, and go for my wife.

She will be helpless. I'm out of town,

helpless too. Here comes the dog.

What kind of dog? A mad dog, a dog

like one of those teenagers who just loses it

on the playground, kills a teacher.Something's going to happen that can't happen

in a good story: out of nowhere a car

comes and kills the dog. The dog flies

in the air, lands in a patch of delphiniums.

My wife is crying now. The woman who hit

the dog has gotten out of her car. She holds

both hands to her face. The woman who owns

the dog has run out of her house. Three women

crying in the street, each for different reasons.All of this is so unlikely; it's as if

I've found myself in a country of pure fact,

miles from truth's more demanding realm.

When I listened to my wife's story on the phone

I knew I'd take it from her, tell it

every which way until it had an order

and a deceptive period at the end. That's what

I always do in the face of helplessness,

make some arrangements if I can.Praise the odd, serendipitous world.

Nothing I'd be inclined to think of

would have stopped that dog.

Only the facts saved her.


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