Our dog, a dachshund, was chewed to death
by a pack of domestics running loose at night.
And now I’ve said it. Time to get on with
the business of burial, be it carcass or memory.
We kept a bag of lime for such occasions.
On the farm births happened without the sanitary
delivery rooms and death without the priest.
That they happened imperfectly, we cherished
the ones that went right. It says something
when the means to cover the smell and speed the decay,
lies within a short walk. We buried him
in the field above the tobacco patch where he’d wait
beneath the wagon for workers to emerge from the rows.
No marker, nothing sentimental.
He’d already begun to stink, that’s how we found him,
decay being natural, as is the stupidity of domestic dogs
feeding their need to hunt and not knowing what to do
with their prey once they’ve ripped its throat.
So they run home to a friendly bowl of kibble.
We’re left to clean up their crime, which we do
enough in cave country. Even in passing the homes
of strangers, we recognize those dark mounds,
the bag of lime, sometimes still leaning against the shed.
D.A. Gray is the author of one previous collection of poems, Overwatch (Grey Sparrow Press 2011). His poetry has appeared in The Sewanee Review, Appalachian Heritage, Kentucky Review, and Still: The Journal among many other journals. His book, Contested Terrain, will be published by FutureCycle Press in 2017. He recently completed his graduate work at The Sewanee School of Letters and at Texas A&M-Central Texas. A retired soldier and veteran, he writes and lives in Copperas Cove, Texas with his wife, Gwendolyn.