Issue 72, Winter 1977
Things, no matter what they are.
Can get out of control.
I can no more explain this
Than I can the Democratic convention of 1884,
Or the sound in my wife’s back
As she accepts my natural urgency.
Suppose, as I write this.
There is a knock at the door.
Or the telephone rings.
And if a white dog
Intercepts the postman at noon
Snatches the envelope with this poem in it
Before it reaches the desk of the The New Yorker?
Think what could happen
If the dog with the letter in his mouth
Blundered into a grey cadillac
And the driver pried the thing from the dog’s jaw
Then for spite used typing correction fluid
And mailed the poem with his name
And the unprofessional blood and tooth marks on it?
If it was accepted
How could I afford a lawyer?
Think of the poems that are lost this way.
These things happen.
Even now a dog with a poem in his mouth
Is stealing across the lawn.
Planning to bury it probably.
These things can happen, I tell you.
Then arrive like the weather
Or the mail, unannounced
In innocent enough shapes
And before you know it
You are telling your story to a stranger.