They say the hole should be at least two feet. I was nervous I still had a long way to go, but when I got out the tape measure it said that I’d almost reached four. Filled a wheelbarrow with rocks to lay over him. Deer made a path up to the spot, tramped down the tall grass. Two wildflower bouquets: one for him, just over his blanket. And one sitting next to me as I type this. This morning I thought, with a kind of shock, that I should have put his toy in there—the one he would always proudly try to walk away with (pulling against the string). 

I laid it among the rocks. 

Eating chocolate almonds in times of grief, because they remind me of someone I loved. He was the same weight and shape, the same body that I knew how to hold so well. Thought the aura of death would have changed him. I scratched him on the back of the neck until his body went cold—I could feel when it was no longer him. Kept scratching until they came and took him away. When we arrived there was a crow in the big oak tree in the parking lot. It made a noise, three times, a kind of cooing. A sound I have never heard a crow make before. “Oh, shut up—” I said, “—come on, you dick,” as I walked around the car to get the carrier, as if I could alter the crow’s meaning. 

But I could not.

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