by Shannon Castleton
Most days I go out and something new is dead. Yesterday my father's last Morgan stud, his cancered privates already black and maggoty.
Monday I buried a lamb flung on the trail, four bullets through her nipple-pink stomach. Some deaths we plan: the Irish Setter who bit through a boy's thin neck when she missed a stick we threw at her. An accident—but they took her anyway. I held her oily eyes shut. The vet's fat thumb pushed hard on the needle.
Some nights I call her, then remember
how still, how silk her ears looked in the dry pit.
My father’s ears glared white
as crescent moons in his glossed box.
I squeezed a thick lobe between my thumb
and all four fingers. My brothers pretended
not to see, stared at his painted lips and eyelids.
I always remember he's dead. Evenings, I lie flat in the yard, beneath the wide cherry tree dropping its smooth blossoms.