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A Dog’s Grave Poem

A Dog’s Grave Poem

In thin sun that lifted its hands
from my shoulders,
leaving me cold, in a patch
of tall grass that took hold
of my legs so I stumbled,
next to a bent little tree
that tapped at my back
with its twigs, I fought hard
for a grave for my dog,
chopping through sod,
through a layer of ice,
through snow-soaked topsoil,
that clung to the blade,
and then I unfolded the clay,
the warm yellow brown
of an old army blanket,
and dry as a place by the stove.

Ted Kooser
first published in Witness, special issue: “Animals in America,” vol. XV, no. 2, 2001

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