Put the dog in the car just before sunset
pack her bowl and water
a bottle of bubbles
a champagne flute.
 
Drive to the ocean.
 
Lift the dog from the car
place her ancient old hips onto softness of sand
watch her nose twitch with the fulcrum of memory
that hoarse-throated barking; half canine, half seal.
 
Take the champagne
and flute
and his urn full of ashes
follow the dog to the edge of the sea
stand at the brink of darkening water
watch sky curl into night, like a wreath.
 
Pop the champagne, fill your glass to the brim
call in the dog and unscrew the urn
make sure it’s not windy; you don’t want to lose him
                twice
ashes and grief falling ragged through sky.
 
Pour out some ash in the palm of your hand
essence of loss inked in charcoal-flesh-bone
let the dog sniff him in, her nose burrowed deep
echo of memory in brown cobwebbed eyes.
 
Seek out a spot where the ocean churns freely
so he can float with it, or his soul will stagnate
tilt up the urn; let the weight of a life-time
roil deep in brine
 
towards Madagascar, Mozambique, Malta –
all the places he wanted to go
               time permitting
matter returns to matter, he once said
(tumour like a tap-root, running deep).
 
Let the museum of memory crack your heart open –
remember that time – you were small – when he told you
that the sun doesn’t really set at all
it is we who rotate, on this tiny orb, spinning
around that massive sun.
 
Drink to the stars, and the night, and the black-slapping sea
feel the earth rotate
spinning you
away
from light.


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