Some years ago, on Easter, a rabbit made her nest in my backyard. We watched the little burrow rise and fall with the breath of the kits under their layer of soft fur down; we saw their little ears and paws; we watched their mother nurse them and thump their bellies as they hopped around the yard. That summer, we came outside to find one of them lying still, with its guts neatly arrayed on the grass beside it.
When those bunnies were born, I wondered, “so where are the dead animals?” Once I asked, they revealed themselves to me, in my garden and flattened into drifts of leaves at the side of the road. I sat with a rabbit as it drew its last shallow breaths after a rainstorm; I was joined by a small knot of strangers to bury a goldfinch that had fallen to the bricks after a window strike. I realized this was work that I was doing, witnessing these animals’ deaths, so I photographed them and their little graves, and learned a small poem to speak over their bodies after burial.