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good dog

good dog

my back and shoulders ache
and I realize it's from digging his grave

it's a good thing, to dig
gives you something to do
relieves that furious need for action
even when action is useless

the vet offered cremation but
I knew it was best to lay him to rest here
in the little bit of yard that had been his
canine territory for a dozen years

I have wrapped him in an old bedsheet for a shroud
I unwrap him a bit so the other dog, his mother
can sniff his cold form for a half minute
how much she understands I'll never know

so a few feet of dirt are moved
and I lay on the ground to lower him in
and I weep

and the dirt is shoveled and raked back
and it's left now to the realm of memory

I was there at the beginning
suctioned the birthing slime out of his snout
to help him take his first breaths

the time he swallowed my earring
the shoes he chewed up, the pillows he ripped
the times he dug his way under the fence
walking in the woods
the adventures

the times I was sad and he came to me
would jump up on the couch and sit with me
put his head on my lap

I could use that now

still nothing like a boy and his dog

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