Chose the couch over the wet-leaved morning, at least till I came home
And let him out again. He stopped bringing me chippies (more alive
Than dead) last summer. Leaves the killing to the young ones; has grown wise.
Has taken to visiting the neighbor, accepting chicken nibbles, helps
Himself through her cat door, serves himself warm wood stove radiance.
She tells me that he comforts her patient, and old woman dying of cancer
Visiting for some small ease and comfort through the herbal oils.
Black cat is dying, himself medicine’ed, it will take some time Vet said,
And will not be painful. He slows down, sleeps more, purrs more, blinks
More. Less movement more loving. More visiting more comfort seeking.
As if he knows and wants to go slowly into the next adventure, reluctant to leave us.
originally published in The Northern New England Review. Vol. 30. 2008.