After killing my parents’ bulldog
dead matter has memory.
deep in bone marrow, muscle tissue and impacted molars
grainy greys of old photographs
a woman once a picture’s worth
now crumbling in a shoe box
remembers without understanding
he shrank in size as I dragged him to the backyard
heavier than ever.
with unsuitable tools
my sister dug the hole
a pick axe and a snow shovel
breaking dirt and scooping it into a pile
that grew slowly into a mountain
though smaller than ever
his body was still too big
he wouldn’t give
I pulled him out
not even with gloves
would my sister touch him
instead kept digging
on my haunches I waited
till the hole was big enough for us all
not a hunting trophy or a test of feat
my parents’ bulldog stretched before me
we, like the shoebox woman, brushed the dirt from our clothes
And although it felt like a dream,
The next morning I awoke a sleepwalker.
Sarah Elaine Magin earned degrees from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Knox College. She is currently teaching at the College of DuPage.