Salty tears and sharp needles,
the sudden surprising heaviness of your body
in my grieving arms right afterward, the sense
that your spirit no longer inhabited
the room or that ridiculously bold beach towel
the vet spread on my lap
None of these things
seemed quite so sad as the look in your eyes
the evening before that told me
you were ready to depart for a wilderness
where I would never again find you.
Or the moment I laid my hand on your scrawny
but still silken neck, searching in vain
for the feel, the sound of your purring.
Oh, that purr,
often loud enough, I swear,
to be heard across a noisy room; a mini-temblor
resonating against my legs or a shoulder.
I would try my best to return it,
despite admittedly inferior
A special purr that said:
We are happy, we two, at peace
with each other and worlds sometimes known
for treating us badly, or even
excruciatingly well, times like this
when I will not disturb
such contentment as has taken up residence
here in my lap.
Those squirrels and birds
will have to wait. No songs need rehearsing
at this very moment. That thick stack of essays
grade themselves on my desk, while our dishes
still brim with good food and fresh water,
and, at our command, the wrongs of the nation,
world, and even universe stay outside us forever,
far away from this blessed time and place,
where you and I, Jake,
sit and purr.