Lessons in Death Taught by a Black Lab

he looked confused:
my sister told him that Sasha was in Heaven now,
as if he would know what that was—
he was two: i at seventeen had noidea.
all i knew was she was in a box in our garage
next to my father's motor oil and socket wrenches
because the ground was too firm
to dig a hole. i hope i never die
in winter so i don't have to sit on my father's workbench
next to a draining pan and screwdrivers
(neither of which i could ever use)
and i hope by the time i die
i knew where my dog at age seventeen was—
and i hope that by the time i die
my nowsixyearold nephew will know
that his uncle has gone nowhere (as long as it's not
in a box beside a clawhammer and a crowbar).

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