The Cattle Dog

four-months in this world & puppy-footed
goes scavenging the backyard for death

skunks the leaf rot, the mulchy bed
of dog shit & rocks beneath a crackling

ice sheet, finds a cadaveric
mouse, its jaw skeletal through stiff-

crack of face, its brain a hard, brown berry
in its broken case

& when I think the death-seeker
of this too-young pup is chewing

on a bulbous wilt of pumpkin flower,
blanched & swollen in the winter freeze

I see she’s exhumed the honey
comb of mouse legs, crisp of curling

tail—O foolish love, I would rid us
of this world’s disease & burrow with you,

I would nudge the monstrous creature
awake & slurry the thaw

til a shovel tears from us
our prize.