Saturday, April 7, 2018


When I came home,
everyone was in a panic.
My sister had tried to pick up
one of the new kittens, and
the mother, surprised,
reached out and snagged its skin,
peeling it back head to tail.
They had wrapped the kitten
in a blanket, to protect it,
because they had heard that
mother cats will eat their injured young,
and to muffle its mewling.
There was no way to save it.
I filled the bathtub, and
cradled the kitten in my hand,
lowered it slowly into the water.
It was warm, which I somehow thought
would be more comforting.
It didn’t take long for its struggle
to cease as its lungs filled.
It was so small
we flushed it down the toilet.
For days, the cat would wander through the house,
looking for its missing kitten. For days,
my sister was afraid to even look at the kittens,
asking me over and over what it felt like
when the kitten drowned. A small grace,
to not be named a killer.
It was easier than I expected;
I did not know I had even that small strength.
I still remember the surprise:
how such a small thing
fights so strongly, how a mother
misses everything that is lost,
even if only for a short while.