The littlest creatures died quickly.
Goldfish lasted days, their glowing orange cadavers
bobbing on the fishbowl’s murky surface.
The gecko survived a week. It’s carcass
discovered one afternoon
dried up like a bug specimen.
The hamster stayed on earth long enough
to master the spinning wheel to nowhere,
to survive show and tell and the squeeze of chubby fists,
before strangulating on the cage bars in a botched escape.
The bunny arrived one Easter then died
days before the next, causing a resurrection watch.
When Hoppy failed to rise from the dead,
his corpse landed in the yard waste.
We never found the cat’s body. Banished
to a life outdoors after bloodying the baby’s face.
Perhaps it disappeared into the jaw of a ranging coyote.
We were not a family to bury our dead pets
with great ceremony in the back garden
under a handmade cross, whispering prayers
to serve warning to God’s small creatures:
Beware. Enter at your own risk.
"Small Deaths" is meant to be a humorous take on what happens to family pets. I was able to pull on our sordid family history with pets for it. Into the Void is a hot new literary press in Ireland. They do a wonderful job of not just editing a great magazine full of wonderful work, but promote their authors and are gaining terrific recognition in the literary world.