by Hannah Jane Weber


Even though I am half a block away,
my dogs’ leashes tightly wrapped around my hands,
I can make out a small lump cradled in the road’s yellow lines.

I am already mourning the body,
imagining the smear of death,
or worse, the hum of life fighting death.

Submerged in dainty fog, the lump appears to be rising,
or the fog is its spirit climbing from the body.

My dogs see the lump now; ears lift curiously, and like electricity,
the curiosity travels to quivering legs and excited paws
where it swells into static uncertainty.

And perhaps it’s a fluke, but rather ceremoniously the fog vanishes,
and in its abrupt absence a Christmas wreath lies mangled,
needles everywhere,
the surrounding pavement sticky with pine-fresh death.

Just steps away a trash bag reaches for the wreath,
its red plastic straps menacing
like the eyes of a vulture ready to devour.

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