Feeling Blue

To have a cat
in the basement, perched
on the green towel we cover the treadmill with
because she has a habit of
throwing up on the black track
as we do
not to run on it,
while I am am up here
in the clouds
my head, that is,
up in the clouds like a
four-year-old, daydreaming
whatever unpredictable plans
the future has in
store. No,
not like a four-year-old
rather, a writer
I am a writer
whose head is
up in the
clouds, thinking
trying to reflect, reject
the death
Conceiving ways
for my character to kill another
human without
getting caught.
A writer, who imagines she
can hear her cat

She is no longer eating so I buy
Beechnut baby food—beef with broth
Chicken. I boil a bony thigh.
I tell the man at the seafood counter that I am trying to keep my cat alive
“Even the farm-raised salmon is $16.99 a pound? Wow, that’s expensive.”
“It is,” he admits with the surety of a man who knows what things should cost.

but then
He slides a hefty fillet off the ice as if rescuing it from danger
And severs a fractional slice of pink flesh
swirls of fat and bone,
and places it atop a piece of butcher paper, white—is it still called butcher paper,
I wonder,
if one is weighing cold-blooded muscle?
Yes, I really do wonder about this for less time than it takes me to
breathe in one breath,
—air, not water
before he hands me the package, wrapped, and light, and now magically costing
$12.99 a pound.
A deal for a
dying cat.

Wednesday Night
I eat the chicken on top of a salad.
The dear salmon is, regrettably, forsaken.
A few licks of Beechnut calms my worry, but only for so long.

I am beside her, reminiscing. She is struggling to listen,
to stay present, I can tell, but still I talk.
“Bluestar,” I say, “you have had a great life.
The animal rescue
found you strutting down Amsterdam Avenue
in a snowstorm. All your whiskers
had been cut
and you were pregnant!
They called you Sophie.
As if you, Warrior leader of the ThunderClan,
could have ever been a Sophie.”
She nods, as if remembering that hard time
in the city twelve years gone.
Not really, but I continue on as if we are two old friends
One of us in a hospital bed,
connected to machinery, but knowing
time is short.
The other, in a chair, worrying hands
wanting to remake the bed because
the sheets are tangled
and no one should die without smooth sheets.

Or a life that did not include:

-tuna water
-the white fluffy ball (when you lost it we all mourned)
-sunshine on your belly
-licking sour cream from a fingertip
no matter the size

I lay her atop a blue rug atop a metal table
Like a piece of salmon
She purrs as the doctor—she’s pregnant and for this I am gladdened—pushes
A needle into her fur while, inches away, the faces on the phone
My family, her family, the child and the man
Who happen to be in the city
Her birth city
Watch and cry and we three cry together
Me here
They there
Bluestar beneath my hand, her chest rising slowly slowly
Falling slowly slowly
The purrs diminish
And then
I remove my hand, still warm
and open the door.

Photo credit: Jenny Brown

23 thoughts on “Feeling Blue

  1. Oh Lisa, I don’t know how I missed this piece. I can so relate having put down two wonderful rescue kitties that looked a lot like Bluestar. I got to love them for 16 years and I still think of them often❤️🙏🏻to you

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so sorry for your loss. You captured so poignantly the desperation that one feels when their pet is dying. I could relate so well to the buying and preparation of special food. It’s like we have to keep ourselves busy during that awful period while they transition from this world so we don’t drown in grief. Rest well Bluestar.

    Liked by 1 person

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