Gale Acuff Page 2

it already. I look back across and
there's some fur and blood, now purple, where he
lay for so many hours. He's heavy and
I hope his tail holds out and he smells like

death but I get him into the back yard
and to the other side of the garden
and set him down like laying out a dead
rattler to see how long it is. Stay, boy,
I say. I'm just joshing - I'm sad and it's
funny, and yet mighty serious, too.
Ha ha. I get the shovel and return

and think about Moses showing Pharaoh
the staff that becomes a serpent. Pharaoh
says, So what? My magician can do that.
And he does. Moses says, Oh yeah? - and his
snake eats Pharaoh's whole. Very impressive

but still Pharaoh won't let the folks depart.

Anyway, I dig a grave, which isn't
difficult because we've had gobs of rain
and the ground's soft as deep as I can go.
I bury Caesar - that's my dog, or was,
or still is, even though he's deaf to me
now and really always was?not very
smart, hardly came when called, but that's not dumb,

that's sly. I fill in behind him, my loss,
his future, his loss, my future - the way
of the cruel world but it's natural,
so how really cruel can it be? - and then
put the shovel away and wash my hands
and go back down to the highway because

I forgot to get the newspaper. But