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The Neighborhood Dog

by Russell Edson

A neighborhood dog is climbing up the side of a house.

I don’t like to see that, I don’t like to see a dog like that, says someone passing in the neighborhood.

The dog seems to be making for that 2nd story window. Maybe he wants to get his paws on the sill; he may want to hang there and rest; his tongue throbbing from his open mouth.

Yet, in the room attached to that window (the one just mentioned) a woman is looking at a cedar box; this is of course where she keeps her hatchet; in that same box, the one in this room, the one she is looking at.

That person passing in the neighborhood says, that dog is making for that 2nd story window…This is a nice neighborhood, that dog is wrong…

If the dog gets his paws on the sill of the window, which is attached to the same room where the woman is opening her hatchet box, she may chop at his paws with that same hatchet. She might want to chop at something; it is, after all, getting close to chopping time…

Something is dreadful, I feel a sense of dread, says that same person passing in the neighborhood, it’s that dog that’s not right, not that way…

In the room attached to the window that the dog has been making for, the woman is beginning to see two white paws on the sill of that same window, which looks out over the neighborhood.

She says, it’s wrong…something…the windowsill…something…the windowsill…

She wants her hatchet. She thinks she’s going to need it now.

The person passing in the neighborhood says, something may happen…that dog…I feel a sense of dread…

The woman goes to her hatchet in its box, she wants it. But it’s gone bad; it’s soft and nasty. It smells like something that’s lost its ghost. She wants to get it out of its box (that same cedar box where she keeps it), but it bends and runs through her fingers…

Now the dog is coming down, crouched low to the wall, backwards; leaving a wet streak with its tongue down the side of the house.

And that same person passing in the neighborhood says, that dog is wrong…I don’t like to see a dog get like that…It’s not over yet…

 

Russell Edson’s peripatetic dog will find a permanent home in Edson's upcoming book, The Intuitive Journey, from Harper and Row. (Spring 1975)


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