by Jennifer L. Freed

The mole
that the dog caught—
not for food, but for anointing
himself with the scent of earth
and wild, small beast—
lies in a slant of morning light
beside the driveway.

No wound.
Only the perfect
the wonder
of his immaculate hands: skin, pink
as my own, pearly
cones of nails
clean as from a bath,
unmarked by scrimshaw of dirt or scratch.

I lift him
on the tip of a shovel,
and I carry him
across the yard,
and I lay him down
beyond the lilies.

The days will reel on
without him.
The dog will forget,
as would I,
if not for his miraculous hands,
if not for the want of words
that could hold them.