“Dog Descending a Staircase” by Heather Abner

Heather Abner


After his bath and haircut
at the groomer each month,
Deez sports a kerchief
that would look good
at MOMA.
Today it’s a triangle of Mondrian’s
Broadway Boogie Woogie
tied around his collar,
but he shimmies his way out of it
on the drive home.
He’s a modern art dog
sliding down the staircase
like Duchamp’s nude,
always in motion,
pure gesture.
If I were to paint his portrait
as he whirls around the backyard,
it would look like a Pollock.
I sometimes want to do to him
what Duchamp finally did
with ordinary objects
like the bicycle wheel.
Sign my name to him
and call it art.

from Rattle #26, Winter 2006


Heather Abner: “My grandfather, Matthew Leon Stevens (b. 1918) was part of the Greatest Generation. Although he didn’t write poetry, he delighted a young Heather with his harmonica rendition of ‘Mack the Knife.’ As a test driver for GM in the ’50s and ’60s, Matt Stevens pressed his foot to the gas pedal pulse of America. I continue that lead foot tradition. I composed this poem about my dog Diesel while driving my Chevy to work.”

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