Monday, February 21, 2011

Requiem for Reinie

I took my grief to Tennessee
Through airport security where
The shrapnel of loss went undetected
I buckled my grief into the empty middle seat
The woman at the window didn’t notice,
Casually tossed her worn jean jacket over it

I fed my grief pretzels and Ritz crackers
Let it sip from my diet coke
Choked back tears when it pushed itself
Against my chest at 32,000 feet

I walked my grief up and down
The dingy brown carpet in Kansas City
If the sharp-dressed man on his iPhone
Saw my pain, heard my cries,
He gave no sign, embarrassed perhaps
For the older woman in black

I flew my red eyes to Tennessee
The deepest anguish abated by clear decision
Then briefly revived by his yowled surprise
as the first surge of oblivion
Burned into his veins.
Yet I found my courage,
Cajoled him away
From the front door, assuring him
of a more certain escape, a deeper freedom
he could not see was coming
I stayed present, faithful as he staggered into sleep,
eyes open to the coming night.

I brought my grief to Akers Farm
To the big A-frame set on acres
Of February brown and gray
The air perfumed with the moldering
remains of fall, rebirth still months away
despite the soft kisses of global warming

I took my memories down to the waterfall
The small ball of fur loose in my lap
on the way home from the pound
The trust between us there from the start
The extravagant beauty, the regal bearing
Of Maine Coon, of white ruff, silky fur, bush of a tail
The alpha confidence
in the presence of larger cats
as he roamed his two-garden kingdom
His steadfast presence as one old belief
after another fell away and my life shifted
in ways I could not have expected

And now our journey was over
Our paths diverging
And now his frail body was laid to rest on a small soft mat
The final breaths coming deep and slow
And now touching the sweet chime twice
to send him on his way
To ring out the last loveliness of the trust we shared

1 comment:

sorella said...

Dearest Jill,

What a beautiful and evocative requiem for sweet Reinie. My thoughts and love are with you in this time of grief.