Dog

By Anna Duvall


Some people said he was a man of few words and some said he was a man of no words at all. But he had a wife once and though she was ten years gone he still went home to her every night and slept in the blanket she made, making love to her memory.

Some people said he was a man of few words and some said he was a man of no words at all. But he had a wife once and though she was ten years gone he still went home to her every night and slept in the blanket she made, making love to her memory.

It was when he was driving home to her (stinkin' drunk, blind drunk) that he hit the dog. It died all night long beneath the railroad trestle, beneath the dried leaves, beneath the moon. But he had to keep going home, had to see her one last time, had to promise her that everything would be okay. And when he got home, she was there with the gun not quite to her head, her finger not quite to the trigger.

He dreamed all night of headlights and cracked skulls. When he woke up his feet were cold and his wife, though she was ten years dead, was gone all over again. He crawled out from under the blanket she made. It was a good blanket—thick like mucous and warm like fever—quilted patches of stars and snow.

He needed wood to start a fire in the kitchen stove, and in his heart, and in his lungs. But by the wood pile was his truck with its dented bumper and broken headlight and the memory flooded him: the darkness, the drunkenness, the dog. He stood for ten minutes, five months, a hundred years, not knowing how to go on, or why to go on. And then he remembered the promise he made and her finger on the trigger and something the pastor had said: the only way to free your dead is to bury them.

He took the blanket, her blanket, their blanket and the truck and went back to the spot. The body lay just north of the interstate exit ramp, among the deer bones and beer bottles and gravel. He parked his truck and idled the engine. He used the blanket to wrap the dog, getting blood on his hands, on the stitches, on his shoes. When he got home he buried them both, beneath the chimney smoke, beneath the dried leaves, beneath the moon.


Anna Duvall graduated from Northern Kentucky University with a Bachelor of Arts in English. Her work has appeared in Loch Norse MagazineThe Colored Lens, and Flash: An Anthology.

 

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