in a hut breezy with banana wind
a boy curls on hard dirt
stroking the chest of his dog.
Her fur brushes free in clumps
and she shivers like his father
though she’s not old or lame.
The boy’s cousin heaves her
into the bed
of a rented pickup.
She cannot stay,
her sickness might spread, his father had said.
The boy will miss how she smells
like the white blood of milkweed.
The cousin drives
over roads that were riverbeds
two week before—now
all stones, some large as cow heads.
The boy’s window is broken open,
but he enjoys the speed
past boundaries marked by prickly pear.
When they pull onto the sand,
waves fold over one another
stretching almost forever.
His dog yelps when they lift her.
He swallows and the cousin says yes,
we will miss her, but the boy is thinking
of his father, the way he whimpers
sleeping against the cow fence
like a plastic bottle rolled in by the wind.