by Laine Derr

My cat kisses finches on the neck, red
feathers masking want, a body finely limp.

I learned burying from my father, animals
killed on country roads, soil rich in blood.

Loping Labradors named for their finale,
a bow – blackness saved for a sunny day.

Leaning against a dog-eared fence, I find
my past, a shovel worn with age and use.

Be mindful of the hickory handle, he still
calls from afar, protecting my heart as I dig.

Beauty, or just a beast, buried in soft ground,
a small cross, twigs and twine, lightly fixed.


Laine Derr holds an MFA from Northern Arizona University and has published interviews with Carl Phillips, Ross Gay, Ted Kooser, and Robert Pinsky. Recent work has appeared or is forthcoming from Antithesis, ZYZZYVA, Portland Review, Oxford Magazine, Prairie Schooner, and elsewhere.

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