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Taking the Thought for the Dog

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I plan to be the world authority on peafowl. Believe I'll be offered a chair someday at the chicken college.
—Flannery O'Connor

Certainly are nice
to want to give me that dog.
I raise peacocks—

you can't keep dogs
and them on the same place.
People come here

have to leave the dog in the car else the peachickens take to the trees

with nervous prostrations.
I have twenty-seven. Place
sounds like a jungle

at night. They yell
and scream at the least
atmospheric disturbance

or mechanical noise.
Sitting on the back steps, I spend
days studying how

they could decorate
the lawn to advantage. They prefer
to sit on the tractors,

the top of the chicken
house or garbage can lid. I adjust
to their taste, which

is anti-dog. Thanks
but I'll take the thought for
the dog. Appreciate

you wanting to give it.
Come visit. Nothing to do here
but sit, walk,

collect red bug bites,
show you a peacock before
his tail gets ratty.

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the August 1998 issue of Poetry magazine

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Taking the Thought for the Dog

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