Feathers | Twisp, WA | February 2020

Despite his $60 hairdo and preference for grilled salmon, our poodle Joey loves to roll on dead things. He sniffs out deer carcasses, coyote skins and decaying bird bodies even in winter under a foot of snow. Out recently for a midnight pee, he made a beeline for a football-sized, feathered corpse with one wing extended and frozen, plaintively pointing to the sky. Joey immediately dove snout first into the stink; I immediately dragged him away. At sunrise, I went to scoop up the dead and honor it with a proper burial in a rose-hip thicket, but it was gone. A hungry critter had done the clean-up for me and left behind only this spray of feathers. Joey later found a segment of rotting deer leg and carried it triumphantly on our morning walk — as would any ferocious wolf with a pompom on its tail.