by John Hildebidle
The pity is you’re not allowed to mourn.
If you say, “He’s sick. Dying, apparently,”
you get the predictable sympathies.
But once it slips out “he” is an affable,
appreciative cat, everyone shrinks back,
as though you’d tricked them into misspending
some priceless sentimental hoard.
Cats aren’t human—nobody knows that
better than cat owners. They shed more,
make odd noises, get into the worst places.
Fickle? Assuredly. Sometimes they ruin the best rug
or draw blood with a thoughtless claw.
The catalog of sins may not be deadly,
but it’s longer than seven. Anyhow,
they take up a space in a life, devour a good helping
of that love-store. And the dark truth is,
death is death, and ugly, and it never purrs.
Copyright © 2001 by John Hildebidle.