The Three-Legged Dog at the Heart of Our Home

By Linda Gregerson b. 1950 Linda Gregerson
She dances to the wheeze of my lungs. Were she taller,
or had she both hind legs, she would lick my aching knees.   
There’s nothing like practice I firmly believe. Practice

makes the heart grow fond. When the graft heals,   
you’ve apples on a cherry tree, delicious domestic freaks.

I had a splendid grandmother, I might have made her up.   
She wore cotton dresses, usually blue, and glasses   
with thin gold frames and plastic cushions for the nose.   
The plastic was slightly pink, intended

to blend with the flesh. She never raised her voice.   
Her knuckles enlarged, her goiter enlarged.
There are ways within ways. A man will go down   
displaying himself in a nursing home. The mystery left,

and there’s more than when we began,
has nothing to do with reticence, or safety.

Linda Gregerson, “The Three-Legged Dog at the Heart of Our Home” from Poetry 136 (May 1980): 76. Copyright © 1980 by Linda Gregerson. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

Source: Poetry (May 1980).


This poem originally appeared in the May 1980 issue of Poetry magazine

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May 1980
 Linda  Gregerson


Linda Gregerson is the author of several collections of poetry and literary criticism. A Renaissance scholar, a classically trained actor, and a devotee of the sciences, Gregerson produces lyrical poems informed by her expansive reading that are inquisitive, unflinching, and tender. Tracing the connections she finds between science and poetry, Gregerson says, “I think there are rhythms of thought, fragile propositions about the . . .

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Poem Categorization

SUBJECT The Body, Living, Health & Illness, Relationships, Family & Ancestors, Growing Old, Nature

POET’S REGION U.S., Midwestern

Poetic Terms Free Verse

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