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Weekly Poem: ‘Domestique’

By Heather McHugh

Surfaces to scrape or wipe,
a screwdriver to be applied
to slime-encrusted soles, the spattered

hallways, wadded bedding— and
in quantities astounding (in the corners,
under furniture, behind the curtains)

fluff and dander spread by curs
the breeder called nonshedding…
It’s a dog’s life I myself must lead,

day in, day out— with never a Sunday edition—
while they lie around on their couches like poets,
and study the human condition.


Heather McHugh was among the recipients of the so-called “Genius Award” (i.e. the 2009 MacArthur Fellowship). (Watch her profile here.) Her books of poetry include “The Father of Predicaments” (2001), “Hinge and Sign: Poems, 1968-1993” (1994), and “A World of Difference” (1981), among others. From 1999 to 2006 she served as Chancellor of the Academy of American Poets, and she is currently Milliman Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at the University of Washington in Seattle, a post she has held since 1984.

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