“Magritte’s Dog” by Deborah Brown

Deborah Brown


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,
and 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.

from Rattle #24, Winter 2005

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