By Nancy Schatz Alton
I am pressing the blankets of our days into the box of dirt.
I am watching you shovel the dirt onto the Cash & Carry box.
What did I carry into the house with this box?
Olive oil, ground coffee, baggies, 2000 baggies.
You carry the box out with precious cargo wrapped in a blanket that you bought for my birthday.
I am sniffing the blanket he laid upon, its squares knit by your mother.
There is no dog smell left but maybe his scent is on another blanket.
The one in his bed, the one you bought for him on the day we learned he was old.
That his life had a near-end point that I couldn’t bear until I bore it.
Bore him into the sunlit day and whoosh there went his spirit: exit sky left.
Where are the stage notes?
Are they stitched in the blanket my mom hemmed for me?
The one with the people reading while walking.
The one we tossed into that bed, knowing my mother wouldn’t like it.
But it was ours, a blanket of our life put into service in any way we saw fit.
I press the green fleece over my youngest.
I remake the bed for my oldest, blanket upon blanket, story upon story.
We are piling up our stories, tucking in the blankets, making a rich tapestry of our connection.
You shovel in the dirt. Our brown blanket holds the boy that knit us together with joy.
He fetches again and again, remaking our story again.
Remember how I cried when we didn’t know if he would be ours?
My oldest quibbles at my fear of his death & folds his demise into her phone.
My youngest cries & cries.
You shovel the dirt, make the last bowl of popcorn, tuck it next to the ball.
Spring rushes at us with her scents and her wonder; she covers us in her blanket.