She stands and stares out the window
at the spot in the woods,
unable to comprehend the permanence of the earth
or how here can change to gone
somewhere between breakfast and lunch without her knowing.
She churns it over in her mind like a spade turns dirt,
but she is only ten and we are middle-aged
and have grown accustomed to the short life cycle of pets.
But I loved her, she says
with the tenacity of a child
refusing to let go
of a lost balloon.
I console her, stroke her hair
and tell her the story of a dog I once loved.
Next time will be easier.
Death will no longer be so grossly unfamiliar,
I know this
and mourn the loss of it.