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My son's puppy upstairs
Is teething.

He likes to chew on the
Stump out in the back,
The one between the dead pickup
And the broken boiler.

He worries it as if to finish the job
My son began
And never finished.

The stumpgrinder fried
When my son hit an ancient piece of rebar
Tangled in the roots of another tree-
The one between the dirt driveway
And the old bathtub we use
For watering the horses.

So the dog chews that stump,
Many times bigger than he is.

(He was the runt)

And sometimes a piece comes off in his mouth
And he looks at me guiltily
As if he has done something
That will make me shake my finger or spank him.

But I laugh and tell him
"Good boy! You do more around here
About that stump than that lazy son of mine!"
And my son rolls his eyes at me.
And the puppy wags and brings me the chunk of stump.

Today I found a sharp little tooth
Stuck in the wood.
I wonder who really bit whom?

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