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being a dog

by Ulrike Almut Sandig
Translated from German by
Bradley Schmidt
Issue 25 Online Exclusive

being a dog: but always being there for someone and always
being cherished and be good to someone who scratches. not
always loving being a dog, preferring to be a polar bear,
ball lightning, moon over soho, vacuum over raw meat,
but also being a human: eating at the table and talking
while eating, being someone and liking eating but till
then also enjoying going along outside, but just on a
leash, grudgingly if it’s going to be outside, but then
smelling everything, trash cans or little marie’s melted
ice cream or iron manholes or peed-on lollipops or
a hole in the ground in the front yard, dug just for that,
really loving smelling everything. being good but just
being a dog. liking spending the late illuminated, over
heated evenings on pillows, killing time and not

knowing: everything shall be over tomorrow. dozing
thinking once more on those who scratch and say: oh
good boy, you little guy, you minx, coffin nail: my dog.

Born in Großenhain, Germany, in 1979, Ulrike Almut Sandig started publishing her poetry by pasting it on construction fences. She has published three volumes of poetry, a story collection, and two audiobooks of poetry and pop music. Her second story collection, Buch gegen das Verschwinden (The Book against Disappearance), was published in 2015. Her poems have been translated into many languages, including the chapbook Missing Witness (Ugly Duckling Presse). Sandig lives with her family in Berlin.
Bradley Schmidt grew up in rural Kansas and later studied German literature, theology, and translation studies. He lives and works in Leipzig as a translator and editor, and also as a language instructor at Leipzig University. His translations of contemporary German poetry and prose have been published widely online and in print. Anna Kim’s Anatomy of a Night (Frisch & Co.) was critically acclaimed. Missing Witness, his translation of poems by Ulrike Almut Sandig, was published by Ugly Duckling Presse in 2015. His translation of Bernhard Schlink’s most recent novel, The Woman on the Stairs, is forthcoming. Further information about his work can be found on his website: