But before I sew, I pour in the salt. At first, the stench seeping from its mouth knocks me back, but I hold my nose with one hand, hold out the container with the other, and dump the contents past its rotten teeth. The pile of salt conjures thoughts of sugar or a small hill of snow. Must taste awful though, if the poor thing still can taste.
Then, the stitches. I push my needle--a heavy upholstery needle from that little shop downtown--through the lower lip at one corner. The skin is a little tougher because he--it--has been dead a few weeks, so the needle, designed to punch through thicker fabric, is a must. I don't bother with a fancy pattern, just a simple zig-zag, back and forth across the lips.
Just as I tie the knot, it opens its eyes, and I swallow a scream. We make eye contact for a second, and I imagine a muted "thank you" pushes through the clot of salt and sewn lips before the eyes roll back and go dark.