by John Grey

We didn’t just wander through the woods,
we scoured their every root and clump and stand of brush.
Larry found ten dollars in quarters once.
Joe held up a much-used condom on a stick,
laughingly quizzed us on its purpose.

We combed with fingers, eyes and noses.
Shards of glass, bits of metal:
pirate treasures took their worth from our imaginations.

One day, we came upon a fresh-dead hare.
The bravest of us suggested a humane burial.
We dug a grave with branches and stones,
rolled the body into it with a nudge from our sneakers.
“Don’t get too close,” warned Larry. “You’ll catch lice.”
We filled in the hole, patted down the earth,
adorned it with a cross of twigs and grass.

Big brother Ed said we shouldn’t have interfered.
Bury a dead animal and the crows go hungry,
But, I argued, what about that poor creature’s soul.
Who’s ever risen heavenward from a blackbird’s gut?

Ed, six months of church instruction to the good,
firmly stated, “Animals don’t have souls.”
But if a rusty key is a doubloon, they do.

About John Grey:
Australian born poet, works as financial systems analyst. Recently published in Poem,
Caveat Lector, Prism International and the horror anthology, “What Fears Become”
with work upcoming in Potomac Review, Hurricane Review and Pinyon.