Poetry : Bodies – Morgan Maple

Morgan Maple

Saturday in September I’d snuck out on purity to take a drive with Tom. We’d officially been together a month. Hated other people. Enjoyed cabins to have sex in between trees. 11:30 p.m. The bend warped around Highway 194. Trees swallow a field. Distracted picking music through cracks in my glass phone. Edward R., Wolves and the Water. Stillness.

Did you see that?

See what?

Tom stopped. Hazards on. Walked briskly to the lump lying over double yellow lines. The dog could have been sleeping. Trickle of blood down his snout and engorged tongue left a spot on the pavement. Doris lived in the house next to the choked field. Kitchen light shone, not quite reaching the street. Dimmed. I knocked on the backdoor because the front felt too intimate. Doris ran to the limp pit-bull, placing her hand over it’s left ear.

My sweet Beau. I bet my rotten neighbor did it. Oh, Beau. I’d only let him out 15 minutes ago.

 Tom laid chewed hands on Beau’s belly while Doris grabbed an old sheet and I watched the stars with my arms wrapped around my torso. He gently pulled his sweatshirt off. I grabbed the old fabric, afraid it smelled of death. Comforted being right.

I gotta get him out of the street. Move my car will you? I don’t expect you to help.

I moved his car faster than he moved Beau. Tom lifted with his knees, arms wrapped around the still chest. Both bodies rigid with exertion. Tom’s biceps heaved like breath, afraid to drag the young body across tar. Beau’s taut muscles like rolling sand. My eyes followed those hanging legs. The heap let breath shift grass.

Tom wrapped Beau like a burrito in a sheet resembling parchment, hiding his face from Doris. I could see a smear of blood. It reminded me of when I got my period for the first time and I thought I was dying. We waddled up the long driveway to Doris’ house with Beau swinging dead between us. He twitched, I swear it.

I can’t bear to leave him outside in the cold. Just, put him here.

We laid Beau behind the floral couch next to the china cabinet. Tea cups and large dinner plates with dust. Her house reminded me of Nana’s. Faded moss brown carpet. Grandfather clock nine inches from the fireplace. Shrined. I wanted to cry because she used to feed me potato chips and ice cream, but never had a dead dog in her living room.

I can come back tomorrow if you need some help burying him.

Doris nodded with Muscatine eyes. Leaking wine. She tried to stop us leaving with stories of her dead husband. Tom grabbed my hand, swung the dead thing between us. We walked back to his car.

I straddled Tom in a cabin in Todd. Our bodies mingled with the smell of decaying fur and weed. He kissed me. Metallic tinge. Slammed into the couch. I played with coarse curls on his chest. We reeked of death and ravishment the next morning when he drove me home, then back to Doris’ to dig a hole large enough for a pit-bull pup.