Then What

First published in the New Orleans Review, Loyola University, Vol. 33, Number 2, 2008, pg. 172

Then What
for M.

Four years after burying the cat she decided to dig its remians.
The gardening spade used to plant flowers along the porch,
she would dig with that. Surely the skeleton would tell her
something, but if it didn’t, then what? When she pushed
the spade into the ground the moon was low
over her shoulder, like her father. Below the roots
of grass the earth was soft. She dug with her hands.
Isn’t it enough to be curious? That would be the answer if questioned,
though she didn’t plan to share this with many.
And behind her on the clothesline, a blouse and the white underwear
she meant to retrieve earlier but was distracted by a phone call.
She remembered the grave deeper, but in minutes
touched something brittle and curved. The underwear billowed
in a breeze that grew into a gust and glowed over her and the grave.