A man is dragging a dead dog

on a lead, down the street.
It makes a low-register hissing sound that is constant and gives you a sense
of the weight of the dead dog. The lead is pulled tight to a straight line.
It is attached to a collar which is the point of the freight most forward,
the dog’s head having been pinned beneath its body as it moves along relatively
slowly against the pavement making that hissing sound. The rearmost point
of the dead dog is what you might call, in this instance, its “bottom leg”
because the pelvis has been rotated, the dog twisted on its side, so one leg
is in full contact with the ground while the other is slightly elevated and wobbles.

And since you already have a street in mind and perhaps a breed of dog,
a colour of lead, or the kind of coat the man is wearing, why not become
the man dragging a dead dog on a lead behind you? Why not try
to understand this thing you are doing: how the dog came to be dead
and you came to be dragging it, what this means to you and where it is
that you are going?

first published in Body-Lit, © Jack Underwood 2015, used by permission of the author.

Jack Underwood in the Poetry Store

The free tracks you can enjoy in the Poetry Archive are a selection of a poet’s work. Our catalogue store includes many more recordings which you can download to your device.