Paths in the woods. Old deer tracks leading down to a stream. Peaceful. Perfect for a burial.
The moon shined down on the man carrying the body over his shoulder. Wrapped in a blanket made by Navojos. Different colors. Red, green, yellow, aqua, weaved into a square with tassles hanging from it. Blood seeped through. The mother at home. Crying in her sleep.
They talked earlier that morning over coffee. The body lying on the floor. A small naked corpse. No hair. Bald as an eagle.
What do you want me to do? he asked. We can’t call anybody. They wouldn’t understand, the mother nodded her head. She took another sip of coffee and a drag from a cigarette. He poured whiskey into his cup. I’m sure you didn’t mean to do it, he said. It was an accident. Could’ve happened to anybody, this time, she shook her head.
No, no, no, no, she cried. I meant to do it. All the crying at two in the morning. The constant care. I didn’t love him. I resented him, she said. Look at what he did to my body. I couldn’t take it anymore, she yelled. Just couldn’t.
Shhh, he said. He held her to his chest. Quiet down. Just quiet down. I’ll bury him tonight out in the woods. By the stream. Then, we’ll leave. Start some place new. No one has to know.
No one, he walked over to the dead child. Placed his hands on his heart. He did not cry. The young husband wrapped the baby in the blanket and said, I’ll be back in a little while. Just sit there. I’ll take care of everything.
On his walk out to the woods, he prayed to the dark sky. Said words out loud to the shining moon. Forgive us. For we know not what we do. A dog barked as he headed in between tall pines and oaks. A shovel in one hand. A son in the other. We know not what we do.