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The Dog in Jan Van Eyck's Portrait of Arnolfini

and his bride stand erect, posing. Unlike yours,

her fur is trimmed where yours is matted. Her eyes

are vacant like cloudy night skies, yours

live with stars. Her ears point like two triangles

glued to her head. Yours fold down shaggily

and cock forward to catch any familiar sound

or motion. She stands at attention by command,

moves by command. I never escape

your willing guard. You bow and stretch,

sprawl at my side, yawn into relaxation

ready to jump up and follow. You respond

to a whisper as if you knew

what I spoke even before

words formed on the crust of air between us.

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