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Man Dog

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I envied the dog lying in the yard
so I did it. But there was a pebble
under my flank so I got up and looked
for the pebble, brushed it away
and lay back down. My dog thus far
overlooked the pebble. I guess it's her thick
Lab fur. With my head downhill the blood gorged
me with ideas. Not good. Got up. Turned around. Now I
see hundreds of infinitesimal ants. I'm on an
ant home. I get up and move five feet.
The dog hasn't moved from her serene place.
Now I'm rather too near a thicket where
I saw a big black snake last week that might decide
to join me. I moved near the actual dog this time
but she got up and went under the porch. She doesn't like
it when I'm acting weird. I'm failing as a dog
when my own kind rejects me, but doing better
than when I envied birds, the creature the least
like us, therefore utterly enviable. To be sure
I cheeped a lot but didn't try to fly.
We humans can take off but are no good at landing.

Jim Harrison, "Man Dog" from Dead Man’s Float. Copyright © 2016 by Jim Harrison. Reprinted by permission of Copper Canyon Press, www.coppercanyonpress.org.
Source: Dead Man's Float (Copper Canyon Press, 2016)
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Man Dog

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