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A Dog's Life

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A stay of execution: one last day,
your day, old Everydog, then, as they say,
or as we say (a new trick to avoid
finalities implicit in destroyed),
you have to be put down, or put to sleep
the very dog who, once, would fight to keep
from putting down, despite our shouts, a shoe
until he gnawed it to the sole, and who
would sit up, through our sleepless nights, to bark
away some menace looming in the dark.

Can you pick up the sense of all this talk?
Or do you still just listen for a walk,
or else, the ultimate reward, a car?—
My God, tomorrow's ride . . . Well, here we are,
right now. You stare at me and wag your tail.
I stare back, dog-like, big and dumb. Words fail.
No more commands, ignore my monologue,
go wander off. Good dog. You're a good dog.
And you could never master, anyway,
the execution, as it were, of Stay

Source: Poetry

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This poem originally appeared in the May 2003 issue of Poetry magazine

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A Dog's Life

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