Preface: I think only Charles Bukowski would appreciate this poem.
Prince, the Siamese, my first
a gift from my veterinarian uncle.
Regal, elegant and demanding.
An asthma diagnosis in kindergarten meant
Prince became an exclusively
In the middle of the night,
he packed his bags and left
in search of a velvet life,
one he coveted and deserved.
Barn Cats…too many to list by name.
There must have been at least 20
roaming the grounds of the old farmhouse
we rented during the transition year.
Most were shy, but I made a few friends.
The mamas taught me how to protect the vulnerable–
grab them by the scruff of their necks
and carry their protesting bodies to safety.
A lesson I tried to put to practice
without much success.
Misty, a gray long-hair with lunar eyes
arrived in the city with me
via my grandfather’s dairy farm.
Not granted indoor status
because of his dandar and feral nature
we bonded over
porch cuddles and cat toy games.
A tragic hit and run took his life prematurely.
My first experience with loss and death.
Next came Evenrude.
A little calico with a purr as loud as a motorboat.
Neither he nor his brother lasted long.
His brother suffered a fatal Boston terrier attack
and Evenrude disappeared during a winter storm,
his partially frozen body discovered later that spring
protruding from a melting snowbank.
Despite the pattern of suffering,
I begged my parents for another cat.
Ginger arrived in 5th grade.
(He was with me for such a short period of time,
I don’t remember his proper name.)
The sweet feline greeted me after school,
rubbing against my leg and humming frisky purrs.
One morning before school,
I discovered Ginger next to his food bowl in our shed,
stiff as a wood plank and very dead.
That is how I learned about rigor mortis.
A break in the cat curse arrived in the form of
a fancy, long-haired white cat named Kitty.
one blue eye and one green eye,
granted him nine lives instead of one.
He was smart and cool,
and he lived with us for 16 years.
Maybe my parents feared
from so many cat deaths,
but for whatever reason,
Kitty was invited to sleep in our basement
fulltime indoor residency.
My Life in Cat Years (Parts 7-9) to be continued in tomorrow’s post.