Under the Dictatorship of Scent


In a country where poor dogs have three legs
I saw a poor child taunt a dog with gobbets
Of gopher, squirrel, or cat, or what have you,
Pink and wet at the end of a wire hanger
He’d sunk into the flesh.  He’d pull the meat away
Just as the canine’s canines flashed and shut
On a fat hunk of wind, and the laughter
This unleashed, over and over again—
The tripod tipped this way, then that way, its long
Blind snout, its deaf pink tongue, all but dignified
Now, purposeful, and not without some germ of pride,
As if the poor dog had done well for itself,
Thank you, under the dictatorship of scent,
And was not merely hungry, but acquisitive,
Capable of the things that things require—
The laughter of the poor child trebled it
Into a Cerberus which commandeered
One surplus head for a prosthetic limb
With fangs for cleats and a jawbone-quadriceps,
And the god-dog launched itself, two heads-first
And heedless of the rot-cube, launched itself
At the limbs of the poor kid who held the end
Of the wire hanger, launched itself, and with
Each of two drooling maws chomped off an arm
Cleanly, at a skinny elbow.  Afterwards
The legend was the poor dog had but one
Leg, and one head, and being all round belly
Another poor child cut its tail off and ate it.  



Daniel Bosch’s book Crucible was published by Other Press in 2002. His poems have been published in journals such as Poetry, Slate, The Times Literary Supplement, Agni, Berfrois, The New Republic, The Huffington Post, and The Paris Review. In 1998, Daniel was awarded the Boston Review Poetry Prize.





Daniel Bosch

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