03 February 2018

X's Cat


As if to make more time for X to heal,
cat up and died.  She wasn’t all that young.
A clot of blood in her hip box rendered
her instantly immobile, and the vet
said nothing could be done to ease her pain.

X said goodbye.  Left cat behind.  At home,
turmoil ensued.  The mouse population
exploded.  X put traps around and sat
with empty lap in her big chair. No cat
eased her as chemo and radiation
ate her disease.  (Cat had been no trouble
and had been worth her weight in gold.)*

But get a new one now?  New name, new smell,
new possibilities?  How to commit
when X’s life is so uncertain?  When
it’s not a new tea kettle, but alive?

As if to make more time for X to heal,
cat up and died.   X wasn’t all that young.
She had no time to make new friends, she thought.
The edges of her soul that thrived with cat
threatened to leave her, but she could see
the little ghostling curling round her feet.

(Omit this line?)*
(Changed the ending on 2/11/2018)

My blog poems are rough drafts. 
Please respect my copyright. 

© 2018 Susan L. Chast


Magical Mystical Teacher said...

You explore the issues that confront us all, the issues of life and death, without giving us answers---which is exactly how this journey is. Lots of questions, but few or no answers. For X, meanwhile, the journey goes on, with or without her cat. She might as well (it seems to me) take the risk of bringing a new life into her home and lap. What does she have to lose? (There, I've asked another unanswerable question.)

Loredana Donovan said...

Oh this is so sad, yet there is comfort in the companionship and love that a precious animal can give unconditionally. Interesting how you named the character X, a metaphor for those who are often unidentified and forgotten.

Mary said...

This is very sad, Susan. Seems like a very bad time for the cat to die. Cats can be such comfort at those difficult times, and the lap must feel very empty without the cat. Somehow I hope that X will get a new cat, but maybe now is NOT the time. I do hope the time will come though, that X will be able to embrace future once again.

brudberg said...

The parting with a cat when you need it most is a sad decision... a new cat means another 20 years (maybe)... but maybe there is hope in having a new one... maybe hope can help as much as chemo.

annell said...

This is a sad sound. The tune wafts in the breeze. Death is always sad, but certain.

annell said...

After my most precious cat died. I thought I could never love another. But I was wrong. My new cat is so wonderful. He has brought such joy!

Donna@LivingFromHappiness said...

I wouldn't change a thing in your poem.....but I think I may have to have another cat....for the love and caring of that cat was entwined in X's life and purpose, perhaps!

Sanaa Rizvi said...

This is so heart breaking, Susan. I can understand how difficult it must be to let go and move on to new beginnings.. sigh..

Sherry Marr said...

Oh, how that little ghost cat hit my heart and brought tears. I so relate to X. I am not allowed to have a pet, but even if I were, one worries, at my age, about making a lengthy commitment one might be around to honour. Sigh. Life can be hard. But thankfully, the beauty of those years with her cat are hers to remember, lonely as that can be, during such hard times. A seer told me recently she had a vision of Pup curled up beside me on my bed. I like to believe that is true. It was a time when I was especially missing him.

WildChild47 said...

the healing balm and tonic of animals - cats are known to prolong lives and help those suffering with cancer .... and there is such sadness in the loss, unexpected ... and the decisions, as if the will to leave as well, is perhaps playing heavily on the mind and soul - as you've penned in the last stanza - how some part in essence is gone, and how the ghost still curling is missed in the sighting

- such a transient and ephemeral tone to the ending ... quite sensitive

belle said...

This is unbelievably sad and heartwarming at the same time.

That ending, GAH!

"The edges of her soul that thrived with cat
began to leave her, and she couldn’t see
the little ghostling curling round her feet."

AMAZING!!! Now I want a ghostling cat!

Myrna R. said...

My life circumstances are so different from X's. But I've begun to realize that if I get another dog, I musn't get a puppy.
You touched my heart with this poem.

R.K. Garon said...


Thotpurge said...

That is profoundly sad...and yet not all that difficult nowadays to see people struggle through the winter of their lives alone.. wonderfully written Susan.

Old Egg said...

This happened to me with our dog as I was overwhelmed by his death having to take him the vet to be put down, then come home with me for a burial in our back garden. I mourned for him more than any other pet we had had and I have never had another one. What a beautiful and sensitive poem this is.

Rosemary Nissen-Wade said...

Oh, I so love that last line!

Re "worth her weight in gold", since you ask – I'd find another thing to say there, to avoid cliché. Or perhaps put it in quotes, so it seems that's what everybody was saying at the time.

kaykuala said...

It is most testing to get a replacement with all the attendant difficulties of adjustments. Difficult choices to make but necessary to address with emotions wide open! Very true Susan!


ayala said...

Sad piece 😥

Colleen Looseleaf said...

Love 'not a new tea kettle' and the last line with the ghostly air curling around her feet. My brother was dying and my older brother ended up dying before him in a freak accident. I always felt he made the way and that they both were pioneers off on a mystical adventure together.