I emptied your ashes into the manure spreader.
Carla’s ashes, thrown
into the ocean a decade ago,
were heavy, granular,
black and white mixed.
Yours are pure white and fine as pastry flour.
The white box with the saccharine
note from the cremation company
taped to its lid held a bag
much smaller than I expected,
not much left.
So I spread them like a soft white blanket
over the week’s accumulation of bedding and manure,
opened the gate to the pasture,
pulled up the levers on the spreader
so its contents would fan
in a brown-and-white arc
as I crisscrossed the field
where you had trailed behind,
waited for tasty droppings
to hit the ground, sorted through them
in your mouth, mined undigested grain
to eat with relish. You slept on the top
of the hay pile where I placed your cardboard urn today.
You pawed bales to make nests,
always greeted me with a toothy smile,
eager to give me a dog kiss. Your fourteen years
ended. I still look
for you hunting mice, moles,
anything burrowing,
so you could dig a hole.

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