Magritte's Dog by Deborah Brown

Magritte’s Dog

You don’t want to lose
the last glance you’ll ever have
of a moon milky and deep in the palm of the sky,
and you don’t want to lose
this afternoon of mist and rainbow,
though the shaken glass
ball of this planet swerves closer
to its final ditch.

You don’t want to lose the last word
Magritte’s dog sings when he flies over the roof
with the mourning doves.

You don’t want to miss your own dog’s last cries
before the silencing needle when her weight doubles
and you can barely raise her body up
from the floor to place her in the coffin
you’ve cut and nailed, while night falls
and stars, clouds and sky lie broken.

In Magritte, fronds of ferns sprout
birds’ beaks and trees tumble like clowns.

Your dog is buried beside the garden,
and it’s Magritte’s dog, not yours,
who soars over the housetop and the moon,
who flies backward as Magritte’s dog can.

You don’t want to lose this chance
to paste your hands to the dog’s back, like an apple
painted onto a man’s hat and gather speed,
and you don’t want to lose a last glance back
at your garden. You don’t want to forget
how this planet shakes, a bone in a dog’s mouth.

Deborah Brown is a professor of English at the University of New Hampshire in Manchester where she teaches writing and literature. She is an editor of Lofty Dogmas: Poets on Poetics (Univ. of Arkansas Press, 2005) and a translator of The Last Voyage: The Poems of Giovanni Pascoli, forthcoming from Red Hen Press in 2010. Her poems have appeared in Margie, Rattle, The Alaska Quarterly and others.

Poem and image used here with the permission of the poet. All rights reserved.

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