When you have to dig a grave
every shovel of dirt weighs
as much as you can bear.
When you have to lower a good dog
into the ground, past the severed roots
and overturned stones,
you remember where you bought
the green blanket, the bright white
lights of the store, the tatter of fluff
When it wore out enough to give
to the dog. The purple memory
Of the syringe in the veterinarian’s kind hand
then the returning of dirt to the hole
where sweat and tears fail
to wash the shovel clean.