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An Example

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Where can the dead hope
to stash some part
of themselves, if not in the living?

And so when I had a daughter,
I gave her your name.

She does not use it.

She goes by a silly, other
thing she was called once in fun,
and then often enough

that it stuck. But oh her hideous pill-
eyed toys — to them each, she has given
her given name,

and so it is you

I hear her again and again calling to.
It is your name she shrieks

to the bale-head farmer, the woven
goat, the cop made of buttons and rags.

Your name, to the squat gray

dog on wheels, tipping on its side
as she drags it by a red string.

That dog, always prone
and pulled along, as though constantly
being killed and paraded

through town to make an example.
What did it do — 

Whatever it did, don’t do it.

Source: Poetry (November 2016)

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This poem originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of Poetry magazine

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An Example

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