Dog, dog, my pedagogue.

From the dog she learns what it is to be away too long. He measures time in the pages left to eat. For him, the hardback on the mantle ticks. It hums and calls. The proteins in his muscles rise and dance, reach and chain. He is up before he knows it, tonguing the spine, nosing the thing floorward. And before he knows it there is paper flying: if he whips his head from side to side he can create a blizzard from her absence, can cry his parents' departure and his far-lost youth. One cover goes, and then another, and then he can taste the glue, and the acidic pages are like manna from the ceiling, and there are still more to rend, to perforate, to tug from their binding. By now he wants it loose: he is eating this book alive, he is running it around, he is chasing his mistake, he is fueled, fueled. He eats The Teacher, The Teacher's Methods, Great Teacher and His Pupils. By the time she returns--and she has been gone less than an hour--what is left of The Art of Teaching is strewn, leafing the floor, so that at first glance her stomach sours: her research notes, what's left to write of the article, her new volume of Christopher Smart. But it is only a book she has always been meaning to read, nothing important yet. Still wild in the eye's corner, the dog does not regret; he does not say a word while she fetches paper shards up from the floor. He will not tell her what he has learned in that morning's sun.