September 2012

Dogtooth

listen to this poem
 
There is nothing more

to say about this place.

 

We have catalogued its comings and goings,

its hidden truths and its wide,

sweet lies.

 

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

in this

the conclusion to our study.