I’m still in bed when I hear you scream; the bullets in your voice tell me you just found your nightmare, dead.
The sky is clogged and the sun is yolky, casting red shadows on your hands while we drive to the vet; California burns. There’s ash in my mouth.
I wish you didn’t have to know that cremating a 4 lb chihuahua costs $47.00. I hand over my grey credit card to the manicured receptionist with the manicured smile; she asks whether you want a private cremation for $195.00 instead (they’ll ship you the ashes for free), but you’re weeping too hard to answer.
I ask: “where will you put the group ashes?” and the receptionist says, “I have no idea,” and you say, “it doesn’t matter.”
Your dog is wrapped in her favorite blanket—the one with the garish, green, yellow, orange, pink hearts. I hate that fucking blanket because it’s so cheerful; now I’m staring at it hoping for a breath or a kick.
You hand your dog to the vet and collapse in the ashy parking lot. Your eyes are raw and red; you beg me to turn back time. I try to figure out how. You tell me it’s your fault.
You should have kept the dogs inside. You should have realized that she was going to get her head stuck in that black plastic water pipe when you saw her playing with it; you went to the grocery store instead.
I Google “where do dog ashes go?” because I want to tell you that she is going to turn into a tree or a tulip, but Google says that ashes are bad for living things.
So I don’t say anything.
The yolky sun sets.