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Noble Dog.

 behind our house down to the brook and the woods beyond the
groomed grass and flower beds what we see are brook and woods and
sometimes animals I've already named we thought when we bathed in
the claw-footed tub we could pretend we stayed inside the natural world
no shutters no shades at night
 beside the mirror over the sink the windows darkened into mirrors which
let my daughter at thirteen admire her tan her new body until she felt
or thought she felt something move outside in the yard and asked quietly
up the backstairs for us to come down here for just a minute please come
down here now we couldn't tell how much was fear
how much was shame we thought she needed us to be calm we tried to be
calm like the trooper we called who said without alarm to the handsome
noble dog where is he buddy where is he buddy at which as if in a game
of fetch the dog went straight around the house to the one smell that
didn't fit to the one smell that crossed the clipped grass
into the ditch beside the dirt road where the dog went too the dog
tracking the smell the trooper tracking the dog the dog not barking or
baying until the scent stopped inside the culvert bearing the brook west
under the road a large metal pipe that amplified the dog's whimpers
and moans
dog of righteousness dog of retribution we heard it from our house where
soon the shutters would go up we sat in the kitchen the summer air soft
as a damp rag we knew this was a moment of consequence but we
couldn't tell whether the world had grown larger or smaller 
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Title Annotation:ten poems
Author:Voigt, Ellen Bryant
Publication:The American Poetry Review
Article Type:Poem
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2011
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