Duties Before Departure by David Spicer

Ace brewed dandelion tea and cooked
llama stew we ate with onion rings
and peeled avocado that nudged us
outside to shovel a grave for Scapegoat,
our Shepherd who died from cancer.
We tossed the deed to the cabin on her
cherry box, sneezed and coughed our prayers
that ricocheted across snow-draped aspen.
Ace screamed, then paused, blonde braids
circling her head like a halo. She glanced
at the white hills, volunteering, Hurrah
for Scapegoat, who stood proud for twenty
years, and pirouetted toward the door.
I stood alone to pack the dirt on Scapegoat’s
new home, as though waiting for the telegram
that relayed gossip about Jack, our son
and escaped killer who had plundered
the town with abandon. Then trudged
inside to Ace’s smiling announcement,
Now we can travel, maybe a cruise,
but first, clean the stove, flush the toilet,
and kiss these tears off my face.

David Spicer has had poems in The American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Gargoyle, Mad Swirl, Reed Magazine, Slim Volume, The New Verse News, The Laughing Dog, Chiron Review, Easy Street, Bad Acid Laboratories, Inc., Dead Snakes, among others, and in the anthologies Silent Voices: Recent American Poems on Nature (Ally Press, 1978), Perfect in Their Art: Poems on Boxing From Homer to Ali (Southern Illinois University Press, 2003), and A Galaxy of Starfish: An Anthology of Modern Surrealism (Salo Press, 2016). He has been nominated for a Best of the Net twice and a Pushcart, and is the author of one full-length collection of poems, Everybody Has a Story (St. Luke’s Press, 1987), and four chapbooks. He is also the former editor of Raccoon, Outlaw, and Ion Books. He lives in Memphis, Tennessee.

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