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My Mother's Arms

The relentless rain pounded down As thunder rumbled in the distance, It matted her hair against her back, Flattening her shiny black curls against her coat, Soaking the contents of the tarp. My favorite dog lay under that tarp, Having completed his trips around the sun, Having taken his last breath as his legs gave out from under him, In the cold waiting room, The pentobarbital not having yet been administered. He died in my mother's arms. I, not yet old enough to understand death, Watched from the warmth of my kitchen, As she dug. Into cold, dark mud. Shovel full, After heaping shovelful, Of sandy, rocky mud The color of something long forgotten. Digging, Digging, Her strong arms, My dog laying under blue plastic, His once shiny black fur, Now gray with wisdom, Eyes forever shut. And once the shallow grave was dug, And the tarp was laid, In the warmth of the kitchen lights, My mother, Trembling with cold and sobs alike, Held me in unshaken arms.

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