KathleenMarch, 1981 - August, 1996
I gaze into your eyes in this terrible place
Cold stainless steel table 'neath your little grey face,
A terrycloth towel hides the harsh, heartless glare
And disguises the fact that your last moment's near.
Back my mind flies fifteen misty long years
To happier times without suffering or tears.
You crept into my life on your dainty white paws
With emerald green eyes and destructive, sharp claws.
Little Kathy I see so eagerly trying
To scale those tall speakers, your big brother vying
To stay out of your reach...
But you kept on trying.
You finally won, though my speakers were tattered
My heart you won over:
'Twas your spirit that mattered.
From my stern admonitions to stop climbing the screen
You gained a new name
That name was Kathleen.
Remember that night of romantic adventure
When Paul let you out despite my sharp censure?
Next morning I opened the back porch door
A world-wizened lady, through the kitchen you tore.
It was plain from the food dish refilled twice as fast
You were eating for several, unlike in the past.
Through a strange twist of fate you miscarried your litter
But gained a new nickname, "our mommy", now fitter.
All alone in the house through the long workday waiting
Then in the front window when the sun was abating
Through the glass you'd see me ascend the front stairs
Call out a sharp greeting and rush past the chairs
To the front door you'd come in true indignation
At being deserted for so long a duration.
She's lonely, I thought, a playmate she'd love,
I adopted a kitten who would fit like a glove...
Or so I surmised, but you disagreed:
"I'm his one love" was your firmly held creed.
Your very first meeting was hardly auspicious:
That box down the hall made you truly suspicious...
A tiny nose poking through the air holes you saw
And a hiss emanated as you flexed your right claw.
"She's only a baby," I urged you abide her...
But you weren't impressed: she was an outsider.
For days you refused to have something to eat
And hid 'neath the bed while I tried to repeat
My assurances you were still Queen of the Heap.
Finally, defeated, I went to the Vet,
Where you confounded all tests and your mind was still set.
How weak you appeared when she opened the door
Then you jumped from the table and your chin hit the floor.
Back home I resolved to divide my care
'Tween you and your sister, meticulously fair.
Surely you knew you were special to me...
But you'd made your point: the veterinarian's large fee.
From that day to this
And down through the years
You and Mai Tai were chums
Sharing food, fun, and fears.
Curled up in the sun
Or recovering from baths,
Or grooming each other
In swirling tongue paths.
Tearing up the stairs
Or down the hall
Sharing scraps from my supper
'Fore the litter box called.
Climbing the stairs with elegant sway
Or draped 'cross the piano in your own sexy way
With your languid eyes gently blinking a kiss
You captured our hearts, little grey-haired miss...
Looking into those eyes in this terrible place
Memories flood all around me at a heart-rending pace.
Mai Tai's at home, yet she knows something's wrong:
Wherever could her big sister have gone?
As the needle goes in and the chemical flows
You don't flinch at all, merely gaze in my eyes,
I stroke your soft temple and assure you I'm here
There'll be no more pain for my Kathleen, so dear.
The vet checks your heart and tells me it's still
Your life is now over. Gone, your noble, strong will.
Your frail lifeless body lies before me, Kathleen:
Sleep peacefully Kathy, you'll be always my Queen.