Three Lives

In Paris, Ernest Hemingway
and Hadley posted their cat in the crib
to watch their baby. The streets
were noisy with dancing.
They had drinking to do.
They had lives.

My mother calls me from New York,
crying. She’s lost her life:
her calendar’s gone.
I walk through her apartment
with her on the phone, find her cat
sleeping on the spaces of her days.

When my cat got so old she peed
on rugs, I gave her a warning.
She looked at me with big eyes,
climbed on the white couch,
and peed. I took her to a vet.
Forgive yourself, she said.

It may take a while. In the morning
I sit by the window with my blue mug
and try to wish a bird to the feeder,
though the cat’s not here
to enjoy it. Between this life
and the next, there is no space to hide.

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