Saturday, September 4, 2010

How We Met

Marischa Slusarski, 30 Percent Chance of Raining Toads (2007) Mixed Media on Canvas, 48 x 36 inches

Recently I lost my old cat, over nineteen she was. She took to extremely bad behaviors, exposing herself to any passing situation at any time she felt like it. She was going senile and didn’t care about much any more. Her eyesight was going and she couldn’t really see over 15 feet. I know because if my kitchen door was open to the garage, she couldn’t tell even with the light on and the garage dim. Her ears were going too. So she lived in her own little world. I wrote a poem about that when she was eighteen, over a year ago. I am skipping that poem now. I guess I want to say that I catered, we all in this neighborhood catered to her disabilities over this last year until I missed her presence behind my car several days ago. I ran her over, but she was endangering herself for over a year before something happened. I still am sure that if someone had to run her over it was best that I did it. I am not going to be free of guilt and grief for a long time over this one.

"We sit silently and watch the world around us. This has taken a lifetime to learn. It seems only the old are able to sit next to one another and not say anything and still feel content. The young, brash and impatient, must always break the silence. It is a waste, for silence is pure. Silence is holy. It draws people together because only those who are comfortable with each other can sit without speaking. This is the great paradox."
- Nicholas Sparks

"Listen closely. The eternal hush of silence goes on and on throughout all this, and has been going on, and will go on and on. This is because the world is nothing but a dream and is just thought of and the everlasting eternity pays no attention to it."
- Jack Kerouac

What the poem does not say remains flat true. We could not meet like this if we did not also meet in silence.

How We Met

You said, it happens
just like that. I said, of course
it does, like feathers,
fluff floating in air,
like parasol seeds gliding
down the sloping drafts.
We could float away
because we met like gardens,
like summer winds do.

Jul 8, 2009 11:40 AM


  1. I am so sorry about your cat, Christopher, it must have been sickening to do that, though coldly and rationally one could say it was a way for the matter to be resolved.

    Sometimes living through an animal's ageing like that can be heavy on the spirit, can make you feel prematurely old and mortal. Don't rule out having another cat some time, not necessarily a kitten but a younger fitter puss with a few years ahead of him or her, it might offer a lift and a fresh lease of life. Though I know you'll need to grieve for now. Go easy on the guilt, though.

  2. I am largely over the sharpness of this passage. It was an out and out loss. There is no way that any justification lessens the magnitude of the act even though the cat herself largely governed what happened. In the last days I was forced into getting out of the car several times just to get in the driveway because she would not stay in sight once I moved her. It was as if she was trying to die.

    I couldn't do that even if she wanted it. It had to happen by accident.

    In the meantime, there is a younger cat I have been feeding for quite a while now, a cat who used to live next door but was moved across the street to another neighbor when those next door people moved out. So in this sense of things I already had that cat before mine passed.

  3. Mmmmm. Such a graceful way to meet. I look forward to a time when I am just a little quieter (although the quieting is beginning - although I do have a long way to go!) and I might meet someone important like this.

    I'm sad for you, Christopher, but greatly happy for you, too, for all those years in between that you shared.


  4. Thank you, my friend. We all have burdens, I think. It is true that my old cat gave me a special joy.

  5. At least you had such a long time to know each other, and as you said, if it was going to be anyone to do it by accident, it was best that it was you. As for the poem: you could cut it into three haiku, and they would still be perfect in their beauty (especially that last one). I'm reading it again and again.

  6. Joseph, wow. Thank you for that. You are right about taking the poem apart and the three pieces still work. Guess I was at the top of my game. Namaste

  7. Hmmm lots of things happening her, while i recite your poem. I thought it so beautiful and Don and i just told Faith how he and i met. Christopher i have to admit my audience was not too interested, Faith keeps talking about how our cat is kising her(she was raised by a dog and likes licking) and Don's says, who Christopher? Which one is that,.....?

  8. The quiet of non speaking is a gift between animal and man...

  9. Jozien, that's the way it is. Most are not too interested, no?

    and of course Don says who's Christopher?

  10. in the case of eloquent silence, there is little distinction between a man and his familiars


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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