[wpaudio url=”/audio/september12/Dogtooth.mp3″ text=”listen to this poem” dl=”0″]
There is nothing more
to say about this place.
We have catalogued its comings and goings,
its hidden truths and its wide,
We have put away our books, our chalk, our calipers
our binoculars and our strings.
We do not expect a second edition of this study.
We do not anticipate a change in the crucial distances—
that 12.6 inches, space between Mrs. G. Gideon Greene’s front door and her
patch of dogtooth violets, dug up every year by the Graymans’ dog and replanted one blue early morning
each year by Mrs. Grayman, wearing her imitation silk housecoat and forehead-tightening turban, who
afterwards will go back inside, smoke a cigarette and pace up and down the landing outside her
daughers’ rooms, then go back down to the kitchen in time for the whump of the paper, to
do the crossword using the gold pen her uncle gave her for her highschool graduation,
occasionally looking up at the dairy company calendar and thinking
are we so close to the crowning of the raspberry
Queen? and then hoping her girl, whatever girl
of age this year, is not too disappointed.
She has too many girls, she thinks.
These are our measurements. We have observed
Mrs. G. Gideon Greene and Mrs. Grayman for long enough
to know that this yearly sarabande will never come to a close—that,
even after they are both long dead, they and the dogs
and the daughters, and even the dogtooth
violets, they will have performed
these motions well and finitely enough that they will continue
forever, and we
with our books, our chalk, our calipers,
are comforted by such knowledge in a way we cannot explain
the conclusion to our study.