Hollie Dugas


I walked with you one winter
evening to the east side
of the mountains and watched
you bury it, a shovel propped
against your right shoulder.
Shouldn’t we kill it first?
I asked, our soft bundle
wriggling in your arms,
its tiny smile slumping off
a cheek, and quietness apart
from the sound of desert insects.
You looked so collected
wrapping your warm fingers
around its neck. We will keep it
here you said and placed twenty
loosened pounds of sentiment
into the dry earth, brought
your knees to the ground
and began to cover the blue
and putrid little mass
like a wound in the soil,
whistling as you worked
to smooth dirt over the small
grave. I could have left you,
right then; but I was dirty
and tired and you were so brave
to touch a thing like that
with bare skin.