Home > Poetry > Know Thyself
Published: Sun Apr 15 1990
Salman Toor, Fag Puddle with Candle, Shoe, and Flag (detail), 2022. Courtesy of the artist and Luhring Augustine, N.Y. Photo: Farzad Owrang.
Know Thyself

_                                                           _ 1

I must have meant something to her because she named her dog
_     _after me.
Now when I hear her boy-friend calling Dugan Dugan across
_     _the fields at sunset
I’m tempted to howl back at him but don’t because he doesn’t know
he’s calling part of me home to whine in sleep at the foot of their
_     _fucking bed.
He doesn’t know, she doesn’t know, I don’t know myself, I only know
I must have meant something to her because she named her dog
_     _after me.

_                                                           _ 2

I don’t know but I think she thinks she is the Field
_     _Marshal Montgomery
of sexual strategy in the World War II of love because
Montgomery named his dog Hitler and Hitler committed suicide,
but she doesn’t know that Montgomery lingered among the Dutch,
would not close the Falaise Gap, and bloodied his own troops
along the Atlantic coast while Marshal Zhukov took
the final filthy kennel and won that mad dog’s dehumanizing war.

See what's inside AGNI 29 and 30

Alan Dugan (1923–2003) was an American poet. His first book, Poems (Yale University Press, 1961), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award, the National Book Award, and the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry. His last book, Poems Seven: New and Complete Poetry (Seven Stories Press, 2001) won the National Book Award and the Lannan Literary Award.

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