the hand that thought it was writing

through the fog of the tranquilizer
a distressed yowl or two
and the way she flops about
like a fish out of water
on that metal table
before the second tranquilizer sucks her under
darien slips the little red quilt
beneath her body


shedded granola fur sticking to the sweat
of our hands we hold
and breathe


on the ride home i
say something like i did yesterday
(it’s kindof stupid to cry about a cat)
to which darien responds with something about sensitivity
and what a valuable/important quality it is to have
to which i agree

in retrospect
i don’t really think it is stupid to cry over a cat
but perhaps i was just trying to say
hey, there’s light and shining things
mixed in with this grief


also on the ride back
a small gray cat with white sock looking paws
walking across the road a ways ahead of us
under that big missouri sky
(clouds forever
and a humidity/haze one can see
but somehow the sun still spills out)
we are sliced open under it
and everything proceeds with a light
and a slowness
and it’s not really our bodies in that car
but our raw selves
strapped in
nothing between this skin
and everything else

did you see that cat i ask
smile on my face
a mile or two after
yeah darien smiles back

and darien talks about how this death
brings us closer to other deaths
and he mentions his grandpa
two septembers ago
the slow starving
that hand that thought it was writing but
instead produced scribbles


these paws! i say
holding one at a time between my two fingers
while kneeling over her body
(each one a different color/pattern)


unlike what some people say
about that instant absence
once the breath and pulse stop
granola’s spirit doesn’t seem to slip away
(perhaps because a window wasn’t left open)
which is part of what compels me to pet her
half an hour after
same touch as when she was on the table
slow and soothing


i carry granola’s still-warm body in my arms
towards the hole in the earth
on the east side of karma
it feels heavier i say
(than when she was alive)


how i might have wanted more time with her body
if it hadn’t been clear to me from the start
how close death was
– meaning i took all the time there was
during the living
to be in her presence
(the rise-fall of her breath
the rhythm of her rumble
applying balm to the cancer-growth wound
shaking around that farm-made cat toy on a stick
listening to what she wanted [cat treats, cuddles]
and what she didn’t [to be picked up, to be petted near the ears])


darien and i each grab two corners
of the purple plaid flannel shroud
(granola’s body in the middle)
and lower her three feet into the hole
while trish looks on

we toss in popcorn with nutritional yeast and dulse,
and handfuls of cat treats
before i place a jam jar of water and
the elastic/fabric tied to a stick
down with her


anybody want to say anything i ask
as we stand in a half circle around the hole
silence, except for the call of the cat-bird
that trish mentions
with a sweet smile

first the dirt (by handfuls
until the shroud is covered
then by shovelfuls)
then the stone
darien rolled over in a cart
from the orchard


your friend trish says
about the creature we just buried
who won’t be sleeping with me


plume – the word darien uses
to describe the dark blood that
rose in the the syringe’s chamber
before doc wiggins
pressed the plunger down
injecting light pink liquid
into granola’s heart


later, room-cleaning
the blankets coated in summer-shed fur don’t get to me
neither does the bottle of ear drops on the ledge
nor her favorite places of perching
it’s the small patches of blood
(not yet brown)
on the inside rim of her water bowl
from the places her nose-lump
bumped into
when lowering her head in to sniff


i have honored your life in the best way i know how,
i hope that has been enough





from the water world:

APTOPIX Pakistan Daily Life
Pakistani vegetables vendor Sher Khan, 55, applies soap on his body while showering near a water supply pipe, on the outskirts of Islamabad, Pakistan. Pakistanis are facing a shortage of clean drinking water due to the low level of water in the country’s dams. (AP Photo/Muhammed Muheisen)

Smoke rises from the 998-tonne fuel tanker Shoko Maru after it exploded off the coast of Himeji
Smoke rises from the 998-tonne fuel tanker Shoko Maru after it exploded off the coast of Himeji, western Japan.
REUTERS/5th Regional Coast Guard Headquarters – Japan Coast Guard/Handout via Reuters


An Orthodox priest baptizes a baby at a church inside the Doctor Voino-Yasenetsky Saint Luka train at a railway station of Divnogorsk
An Orthodox priest baptizes a baby at a church inside the Doctor Voino-Yasenetsky Saint Luka train, which serves as a free consultative and diagnostic medical center, at a railway station of Divnogorsk, outside Russia’s Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk
. REUTERS/Ilya Naymushin


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