To Live Alone with Cats

Against your forearm stretched
dreamily for lover’s chest,
their paws knead a simple lullaby,
Now nap, just nap, that’s best….
When your own chest heaves
sorrow like a breaking wave,
they love with rugged tongues
your neck, swollen sadness cave.
When you call their sweet names
—matching their sober grace—
they come padding to your hands,
your hands so hungry for solace.
How tenderly they teach you
--such stern love in their kiss—
Close eyes. Dream sunshine….  
Now nap, cat nap, that’s bliss.


for Shasta,
Dumpster Baby discarded too many times

I lie spoonstyle with the cat as if to comfort her.
She was forced from another home at seventeen.

"That's old for a cat," a young friend said,
"It was kind of you to take her in."

What? I was the one taken in.
How I love to be taken in by cats!

Shasta shares with me how to own your softness.
She teaches me to stretch across my long, wide queen-size loneliness.

Little bliss wetting her lips, she drools delight
when I gentle her tiny nearly toothless lower jaw.

My tears of solace and memory mix with her wet-whisker gratitude.
Long-lost, we are sisters knowing not to claw up grief, the gristly bones of our childhoods--

knowing not to deny the godlinest of pillows, thick mattresses, dreams--
knowing enough to press each other close

and purr.