Ode to Nightshade, My Cat

Long after you are gone,
I will still feel you in the morning
walking on my body,
pawing my face.

Long after you are gone,
I will sweep up a hair—
remains of lost love,
maybe even find a whisker.

Long after you are gone,
every pair of dark shoes
seen from the corner of my eye
will catch me off-guard
with a glimpse of you.

Oh, how I dreamt
if a cat came to my door
I would keep her.
Then you, abandoned in the field,
were brought to me by my neighbor.

All of seven weeks old,
you sat in the palm of my hand,
then on my modem,
then on my printer,
and every warm place you could find.

Playful, endearing,
your long brown hair and yellow eyes
rendered you beautiful.
Your skittish nature
kept you from others.
You were mine, all mine to enjoy,
and I did completely.

Now, I watch every breath,
every precious moment—
waiting for my heart to be torn
from my body,
reliving 18 years of joy.

Oh, my little girl, I bid you sweet farewell
as I brace myself for that last gasp of air,
the breaking of earthly bonds
that animals bring to the human soul,
the love that cannot be expressed,
only known.


— Sherrie Lovler


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