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A weekly poem, read by the author.
Sept. 6 2011 6:54 AM


Click the arrow on the audio player to hear Robin Becker read this poem. You can also download the recording or subscribe to Slate's Poetry Podcast on iTunes.

Most days that summer your old dog came up,

in the searing heat, with a failing heart,

from your place, the half-mile uphill to mine―

up the steep rise, past the pastured goats, on

the buggy trail that swerves through blueberries.


As you pointed out, The Odyssey

is full of tears, everyone weeping

to find and lose and find each other again.

Spent, he struggled the last two hundred yards,

ears low, chest heaving. Hearing

the jangling of his tags I knew the gods

had chosen me to praise him for his journey,

offer food and water, a place to sleep.


Robin Becker is an associate professor of English at Pennsylvania State University and serves as poetry editor for the Women's Review of Books. Her fourth collection of poems is All-American Girl.