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Kate Northrop


Unfinished Landscape With A Dog


Not much of a dog yet,
that smudge in the distance, beyond the reach

of focus. It's just an impressionist
gesture, a guess. From the edge of the clearing, the farmhouse
materializes, settles

into wall & stone. The water,
making the surface

of the stream, makes
reflections. So why shouldn't the dog

accept limits, become

a figure? Is it like the girl who sits
in the hall closet and says she's not
hiding? She's inside—

listening without the burden
of sight, letting locations
release hold. Out of body,
they seem lighter: her parents' voices no longer

hooked to their mouths. They seem
cleaner. Even the electric can opener;
the sounds of children

that rise from the yard, and fall; the opening
window, these are no longer

effects, things expected
of a subject and verb. The world anyhow is too
straightforward.

Maybe the dog
does not want to be a dog, does not want
to be turned into landscape

but to remain in the beginning, placeless:

with the wind opening, the wind
a vowel, and the stars and waters
that flash, recoil, and retch

unnamed as yet, unformed, unfound.

Submitted: Monday, January 13, 2003

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