Animal Locomotion: Plate 707 (Dog) by Eadweard Muybridge (Happy Birthday, Eadweard Muybridge!)
Paired: Eadweard Muybridge + Benjamin Harnett
The leash tugs in my hand. I turn
to see my dog, turned too, shivering,
hackles up the length of his spine.
We’d walked a usual path tonight,
late so that the street was dark, except
where lamps slapped yellow light
to shadows. I’ve taken to holding
my cellphone up, reading as we walk.
He doesn’t mind, and keeps ahead,
or snuffles aside at some concrete patch
the way he does because his face
is somewhat flat. Before, in a green place,
we lived apart from these things I think
seem the same to me as to him. A few
times, then, at field’s end a burn barrel
warped with age and rust, looming,
startled him to growl as if at a bear.
Once, at night, he hurled himself
against the glass, and ran when I let him
out past the cone of porch-light
barking wildly, while in the valley
coyotes warbled, yipped, and howled.
But on this neighborhood street
I find it odd to hear him growl.
It’s just some woman, coming home
to her apartment in a black coat,
with her bags, facing away, oddly still.
After a minute she swings her eyes to us,
and my entire body turns to ice.
As like to us our dogs are, in them
beats an alien heart whose locomotion
we can only infer: to seek comfort,
and in the darks of their lives to fear
for all there is to lose.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, we’re introducing a new series called Paired, which will feature a 20x200 edition alongside a poem selected by a team member, friend, or collector each day in April. Submissions are welcome! Please write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks Benjamin for sending this one in!