There was a message on my phone.
My dog was ready to come home,
they said. It was just her ashes,
they didn’t say. Never one to be
put on a shelf, we took one last
walk together around the farm, her
cremains, I guess, tucked under my
arm. She usually bounds ahead of me,
turning to make sure I’m coming.
She usually stands just beside me
when I stop. She usually has a wild
rambunctious pride. Where did she
love best? The truck, of course.
She’d be sitting there waiting,
ready to load up. The gate to the
barn; we met there several times
a day. The pond to the west; she’d
splash and bring that wild scent to
bed at night. A prairie breeze kicks
and I can see her profile; nose
lifted, her coat blown back. She’s
facing down the wind. Shall I let
the wind have her now? I stroll
between memories, passing under the
barn tree, swings hanging in the
cool shade. Carrying the weight of
an old dog, nothing left but bones,
is heavier than I expected. Once more,
I wish her lightness from her used-
up body, as I go inside and put the
container on a shelf by a faded dog
bed. We’ll take another walk tomorrow.