Death’s First Call

A spring when the slush lingers
clouds march in dreary battalions
and rain, unrelenting white noise
turns farmyard muck to a curse
is a desolate time to learn about loss.

Hobbled and helpless
we watched the terrier expire.
With nicotine gums
breath a staccato whisper
her valiant pulse dwindled
to a moth’s flutter
martyred by a barn rat’s
viperous incisor
a pricked death sentence.

In a private ceremony
we buried her by the elm
at the top of the big field
so she’d have a view
of the distant three spires.

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