After the memorial service,
we buried a salamander instead,
Sylvie picking it up with a leaf
after I spotted it in the road
with its brains oozing out.
We didn’t really bury it,
we tossed it into some Queen Ann’s Lace
on the side of the winding road
on the side of the mountain.
Anything more would have been obvious.
It was a bright red, the red of valentines.
It was as plump as a pair of lips.
It was the red of Jesus’s words in a Bible.
You get my drift.
It was so red it was almost still alive.
Farther down the road, we saw a snake
turning into asphalt, a gray snake
ghost of its former black snake self.
It was past saving.
I took a picture of this dead snake,
to prove art mimics nature.
Sylvie took her jacket off in the rain.
Sometimes a bat is just a bat.
It’s not an omen, or a vampire,
or a rabid threat to your good health.
It’s just brown, and lonely,
as confused as you are sometimes
when you turn to find someone
and he has turned another corner.
A bat can be as warm and fuzzy
as you want it to be, or cuter,
but it’s still not a good idea to touch it
even when it ends up in the grass
wrestling your dog at four in the afternoon
when it should be hanging upside down
like a good bat in the rafters
or turning some corner to find the woods.
Bad dog, bad bat, I’m okay, you’re okay,
but it’s still not so good to fight,
not mammal to mammal,
not at four in the afternoon
over who or what belongs in the yard
or who or what should go which way
when there are so many paths to choose from.