It is not clear
who found whom
that January day in 2011.
I may have been walking
but we were both caged,
each needing a type of freedom.
Our friendship, since,
has endured many changes and places.
Your heart was always
big enough to include
everyone who was important to me.
You did so without complaint,
Now, I am not sure
what a day without you in it
will look like. I don’t know
how I will sleep and eat
without your voice,
without your warm presence
in my lap in the evening,
next to my wife at night.
I wonder how much you realize
the forgetfulness of mortality which is
unique to my species. I wonder,
when your body began to break,
if you knew that I was not prepared,
that I was afraid to acknowledge
the end of our fellowship.
I wonder if you know how
frantically my mind began to work
when you stopped coming
downstairs or to bed at night—
how it begged the Lord for hope
that the grown-up part of me,
which suspected, was wrong.
And when I came to accept
that you were leaving me,
how frantically it has worked
to recall every moment,
to lock tight the sound of your voice,
the sensation of your paws and tongue,
the scent of your breath and the rhythm
of your purring.
I wonder if you know how afraid I am
of forgetting your friendship.
A good friend told me that you need me
to tell you that we’ll be alright, that
you need me to let you go peacefully.
I trust her because she is wise and
because she loves you, too.
So, I will try to muffle the sound
of my heart shattering when
you breathe your last. I will
try to remember the promise
to a creation waiting, as a
woman in the pains of childbirth,
to be restored and renewed.
I will continue to hope that, someday,
you and I will see each other again and
we will both be whole and new.
I will try not to crumble to pieces
when I say to you today