Friday, January 21, 2011

How do I meet this moment?

My old boy is fading. A few months from 19, he has been with me since a tiny kitten of fur and eyes and purr. Yesterday a good day. Hearty appetite, tossed the toy mouse around for a moment or two. Last night, up and up again and up again. I despair at soothing him. Today he's worse. Eating little, restless and weary. I brush him gently, try to tempt him with treats.

Is it time to call the vet to come and release him? Does he want instead to do it on his own? Is he in pain? Disoriented? Or just old and fading?

I am very sad. Some cats are familiars, some not. He is one. We have had much joy in each other's company and he has seen me through good and bad times. I do my best to listen carefully but I am not sure how to meet this moment.

Today I wrote poems again. Here are two, from each to the other:

Ash Street Nocturne: Jill

Heart racing, restless deep
In the bones
He wakes me hour upon hour
For one bite of food or two
Then calls again and again
In the ghostly voice, his chords as
Wasted as the muscles of his back

I stand with him on the carpet in the deep darkness
I run my hand over the once sleek coat
Now gone to shaggy clumps
No will left to preen

I soothe with words he cannot hear
Hoping my eyes carry the deep love I feel
And trusting that the weight of 18 years together
Can anchor us to each other for whatever remains

Ash Street Nocturne: Reinie

Pull of the full moon through the cherry tree
Across the courtyard, around by the garages,
And down the concrete corridor
Scent of raccoon, bird droppings, the kibble left out on the porch
Memory, dream, awakening
Two yards, four feet fast now in some strange slow place

The earth moves. Her footsteps on the old floor
I was sleeping or maybe not
Stretched out on the carpet or curled in the basket
I pull the carpet up and let it fall, put my nose on her cheek
She rises.

We dance to the kitchen
Hungry, thirsty
Yes, no, not that, maybe that

Sometimes I hang on, doesn’t she know?
Sometimes I let go, and nothing moves me
And always just now. It’s just now.


sorella said...

Dear Jill,

I love that you expressed your feelings about sweet Rennie's current state in this two part poem. More and more I feel that poetry gives us a place to express and explore the more complicated states of emotional being, hopefully giving some solace in difficult situations.


Amy Livingstone, M.A. said...

Beautiful Jill. Thinking of you and sweet Rennie.