BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE

To capture an object in words is a difficult chore, but when it’s done exceptionally well, as in this poem by A. E. Stallings, I’d rather read the description than see the object itself. A. E. Stallings is an American poet living in Greece.

The Pull Toy

You squeezed its leash in your fist,
It followed where you led:
Tick, tock, tick, tock,
Nodding its wooden head.

Wagging a tail on a spring,
Its wheels gearing lackety-clack,
Dogging your heels the length of the house,
Though you seldom glanced back.

It didn’t mind being dragged
When it toppled on its side
Scraping its coat of primary colors:
Love has no pride.

But now that you run and climb
And leap, it has no hope
Of keeping up, so it sits, hunched
At the end of its short rope

And dreams of a rummage sale
Where it’s snapped up for a song,
And of somebody—somebody just like you—
Stringing it along.

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