White Dog

First snow—I release her into it—
I know, released, she won't come back.
This is different from letting what,

already, we count as lost go. It is nothing
like that. Also, it is not like wanting to learn what
losing a thing we love feels like. Oh yes:

I love her.
Released, she seems for a moment as if
some part of me that, almost,

I wouldn't mind
understanding better, is that
not love? She seems a part of me,

and then she seems entirely like what she is:
a white dog,
less white suddenly, against the snow,

who won't come back. I know that; and, knowing it,
I release her. It's as if I release her
because I know.
 

Carl Phillips, "White Dog" from The Rest of Love.  Copyright © 2004 by Carl Phillips.  Reprinted by permission of Farrar, Straus and Giroux, http://us.macmillan.com/fsg.
Source: The Rest of Love (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2004)
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