We gave our dogs a button to sniff, or a tissue, and they bounded off confident in their training, in the power of their senses to re-create the body, but after eighteen hours in rubble where even steel was pulverized they curled on themselves and stared up at us and in their soft huge eyes we saw mirrored the longing for death: then we had to beg a stranger to be a victim and crouch behind a girder, and let the dogs discover him and tug him proudly, with suppressed yaps, back to Command and the rows of empty triage tables. But who will hide from us? Who will keep digging for us here in the cloud of ashes?
Copyright © 2005 D. Nurkse. From Burnt Island, 2005, Alfred A. Knopf. Reprinted with permission.