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Over and over Tune

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You could grow into it,
that sense of living like a dog,
loyal to being on your own in the fur of your skin,
able to exist only for the sake of existing.

Nothing inside your head lasting long enough for you to hold onto,
you watch your own thoughts leap across your own synapses and disappear—
small boats in a wind,
       fliers in all that blue,
               the swish of an arm backed with feathers,
a dress talking in a corner,
               and then poof,
       your mind clean as a dog’s,
your body big as the world,
       important with accident—
               blood or a limp, fur and paws.

You swell into survival,
       you take up the whole day,
you’re all there is,
       everything else is
not you, is every passing glint, is
       shadows brought to you by wind,
               passing into a bird’s cheep, replaced by a
                              rabbit skittering across a yard,
a void you yourself fall into.

You could make this beautiful,
       but you don’t need to,
living is this fleshy side of the bone,
       going on is this medicinal smell of the sun—
               no dog ever tires of seeing his life


keep showing up at the back door
even as a rotting bone with a bad smell;
feet tottering, he dreams of it,
wakes and licks no matter what.

Source: Poetry (Poetry Foundation, 2001)

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This poem originally appeared in the March 2001 issue of Poetry magazine

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Over and over Tune

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