I discovered this week’s poignant poem honoring woman’s best friend in the first issue of the new online literary magazine, Mixed Fruit, published June 1, 2011. It is a bi-monthly periodical and the second issue, published August 2st, is now available. Enjoy!
Rites of Spring
by Donna Vorreyer
Gardening, I come to the place
where we buried our first dog, the dirt
now sprouted with daylillies and sprigs
of weedy thistle. My husband dug the hole
in early fall when her hips began to fail,
before the ground became unbreakable.
She lasted until March, the plot
covered in plywood and late snow.
I pull the thistle’s gangly roots, hoping
for orange blossoms instead of burrs,
I try not to think of her bones beneath,
the beetles that pick her carcass clean
of the sleek, black fur that once velveted
my hand. Ghost ants haunt the undersides
of upturned rocks and branches, scribble
their white calligraphy of industry.
Our golden retriever limps up, nudges
her grey muzzle at my elbow, collapses
her own crooked hips beside me. She does
not rise until I do, her front legs bearing
the slow bones of her backside. I stoop to bury
my face in her neck as if love could keep her
from this dirt. As if love could fail as easily
as flesh, as flower. As if it were that frail.
Donna Vorreyer spends her days convincing middle-schoolers that words matter. Her work as appeared in many journals including Weave, Cider Press Review, qarrtsiluni, and Rhino. She is a contributor to the blog Voice Alpha, and you can also find her online at her own blog, Put Words Together. Make Meaning