The Departure

by Donna J. Long

The Departure
Tulum, Mexico

The market square is shuttered, empty
but for the dogs standing around, barely

glancing at us as we leave to catch
a six a.m. bus at the crossroads.  In Tulum

the dogs are quiet — they don’t waste
their energy to bark.  One dog stretches

across the walk, another mongrel worn
by starvation, worms, disease.  Lisa coos,

thinking it asleep, but I remember this
stillness after my mother’s last breath.

It isn’t seeing the lungs rise and fall, eyes
open and close, but the subtle vibration

of cells life requires.  And then it stops.
The dog was dead.  We caught our bus.