Under the Covers
When you grew old,
I didn’t see your fur’s patchiness, didn’t ponder your meds as I crushed them into cooked chicken breast every morning with an unspoken prayer that you would eat. And you ate, until one last June dawn when cotton floated through the air from the willows behind the building.
When I tried to set you on the windowsill, sun, you
Your asthma, your heart arrhythmia matching mine, same medication; the time workmen came to fix our sink when I wasn’t home, and you passed stress-blood, yes, I saw,
but I needed
Fourteen years of mornings we curled like a snail in its shell in bed until noon.
You spooned between my breasts and arms and woke me when you stretched your toes
against my lips.
Four years past, taking other lives, bringing new to my bed. None stop grief’s smouldering want. Nobody fits
Some days I fear death.
Some days, not—
You might be there waiting.
And if heaven is only a human construct, at least our ashes will blend together when some kind hand pours us into Earth’s warmth, where I will hold you on my chest again.
Under the covers.
Associate Editor Clare Songbirds Publishing House, Auburn NY
2020 NLAPW Biennial Letters Competition 3rd prize Childrens category
2019 Faulkner Finalist
2019-20 Vinnie Ream semi-finalist
2018 Independent Book Award winner (poetry)
2013, 2018 CNY Book Award nominee
2016, 2018 Pushcart nominee
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