There’s a hole about sixty steps south
Of the dog pen that’s filled
With the bones of father’s first wife.

They’re wrapped in burlap and
Tied with a nylon rope.
The hole was dug with a rusted spade,
Handle splintered so that you
Had to dig with one tired hand.

He said the hardest part was tearing her down
Separating bone from tendon.

He boiled the cartilage in a brass cooker
And mixed it with chicken innards in with the dog food.

She’d drink a lot and father said
Her womb was dry and wouldn’t
Fertile a weed.

That spring, when it rained for twelve days,
And the water loosed up the sod and the mud
Began to slide, one of the dogs went to dig her up.

He pulled and gnashed,
Spilling the soaked coffin on the driveway.
Remains lay scattered. The fragments

Rested in small, dirty puddles
That mother ran over in her Buick.


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