For Gracey by Ronday Latina

Where are they buried?
The bones of the beasts of old?
Their coats of ginger and grey and black and tabby?
In hasty graves marked by the tears of those they loved and served.
Marked by sighs and sorrow and stories, but lost as memories become twilight.

Remember that dark pup – with the roman nose and the crooked tail?
She was Molly’s pup, wasn’t she?
Old Molly. Old Bif. Old Blue. Old Bella.
That sweet old cat that lived on the roof and could climb brick walls.
Such a mouser she was!

Buried where?
In the old orchard, later sold, subdivided, and paved when the gas station was built.
Behind the shed, the one that blew down during the tornado of ’63, then was plowed over and kept in crops.
On the hillside of aspens by the black rock, I think?
Below the sod of thousands of suburban lawns lie the once quick bones of our friends.
Interred with a favorite toy perhaps or a keepsake once dear.
Squirrely was laid to rest at the feet of the forsythia.
Sebastian beneath the apple tree.
Bluebird near the firewood pile.
Heidi on the hilltop.

I still remember how she laid her head on my knee and how she loved to swim in the creek and how she left the mice on the kitchen rug.
But one day I will forget.
How many beloved bones lie unmarked and unremembered beneath our feet?

Dedicated to the memory of Gracey Eleanor, our dear Weimaraner, who passed from this world on September 21, 2017. May she join Arabella Camille, her old friend, and together may they swim through the silver ponds of a golden afterlife.