Archives for posts with tag: animals

My Daughter Teaches Every Child She Knows to Love Her Cat
by Alice Morris

He was a half-grown stray regularly ripped to shreds
by the mangy pack of oversized ferals that had the run

of the old
beat-down neighborhood.

Early each morning he’d show up outside our cottage door —
crying, shaking, bleeding.

My three-year-old watched as I left him a little milk,
a bit of bread, a nip of cheese.

I’d tell my daughter stay back, explain

Eventually, she had to touch the copper-colored fur
on his back

and as though he knew he had found his home, his girl,
he never left a scratch.

We named him Penny because of his color, and because
it seemed his cat-world believed

he had no value.
But my child endlessly played with, talked about,

and drew pictures of our newfound Penny.
Soon, he appeared in other children’s family drawings.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: A picture of Penny found in my jewelry box after 18 years (2017). My daughter made this small cutout picture of Penny when she was about five years old. (She was very skilled with the scissors.) She used an index card for extra strength. (Photo by Alice Morris.)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Lost and Found — I first thought of the diamond that I lost from a replacement wedding band, and recalled the dark hole left in its place, but this subject was suddenly eclipsed by a flood of images regarding, essentially, a refugee cat. The more I thought about how we found each other, it seemed that lost diamond kept getting smaller and smaller.


Alice Morris
, a Minnesota native, earned her BS from Towson State University, and MS from Johns Hopkins. She comes to writing with a background in art — published in a West Virginia textbook and The New York Art Review. Her poetry appears or forthcoming in The Broadkill Review, a shared chapbook, themed poetry collections and anthologies — most recently, Bared: Contemporary Poetry and Art on Bras and Breasts by Les Femmes Folles Books. Her work is also published by Silver Birch Press, The Avocet, The Weekly Avocet, and Delaware Beach Life.

Author photo by Alice Morris.

by Roslyn Ross

Lost that grey kitten,
eyes like stars and
fur in silken clouds
of love, damp-nosed
and curious, so very
curious –

Found, that grey kitten,
eyes clouded, fur limp,
body curled in death,
sighing from the final
bite of the snake, as it
defended its babies
from curiosity

IMAGE: “A Kind of Cat” by Paul Klee (1937).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We live on a farm and in summer, the brown snakes are common and kittens are as ever, much too curious. We have lost three kittens in the past two years.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roslyn Ross has been writing poetry since she was a child. She was born in Australia and has lived around the world for three decades, but is now settled in the Adelaide Hills in South Australia.

by Neil Creighton

The Indian Pacific from Perth
has arrived on Platform 2.

We poured from the train.
The platform surged with people.
Baggage handlers scurried around.
Grey day. Spiteful rain. Cold wind.

Better check on your dog, son.

Sammy was in a dog-cage in the baggage car.
He was eight. I was sixteen.
His puppy self had lain in my arms.
Together we paddled the glittering lake,
he in the front, alert, mouth open, excited.
He loped alongside my bicycle.
He bounded comically through high grass.
He lay at my feet in the evening.
He was my brother and my friend.

There’s a dog loose on the tracks.

I barely heard that announcement
as I wandered down to the baggage car.
I’d checked on him on each stop.
Now I’d take him to our new home.

I’ve come for my dog.

Jeez, mate, sorry, he’s gone,
We tried to get him out of his cage.
He held back and slipped his collar
and he bolted.

I ran through the crowd, searching the tracks,
calling and whistling again and again.
No dog loped up happily to lick my hand.

Finally I stopped.
He was gone,
3,400 kilometres from his home,
running in a strange city
full of noise and trams and cars and trains,
increasingly desperate, hungry, alone.

The day was cloudy, cold and wet.
I reached for my sunglasses
To hide my grief, though tears flowed freely.

Sammy, my dear friend,
don’t run too far.
Find someone to take you in.
Let them love you like I do.

In a sad huddle, my family waited.
I walked past them towards the platform steps.
They seemed so very far away.

IMAGE: “Boy with a Dog” by Pablo Picasso (1905).

Creighton for Sammy

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I have always loved dogs, and although my father was in the Royal Australian Air Force and we led a gypsy life, criss-crossing the Australian continent, my dog always came with us. My poem recounts what happened when we travelled from Perth to Melbourne one cold, wet day.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My dogs, Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy and Miss Eliza Bennet (Darcy and Lizzie).

Neil Creighton Bio Photo1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Neil Creighton is an Australian poet whose work as a teacher of English and Drama brought him into close contact with thousands of young lives, most happy and triumphant but too many tragically filled with neglect. It made him intensely aware of how opportunity is so unequally proportioned and his work often reflects strong interest in social justice. His recent publications include Poetry Quarterly, Autumn Sky Daily, Praxis mag online,  Rat’s Ass Review, and Verse-Virtual, where he is a contributing editor. He blogs at

doughnut and obscure
by Virginia Lowe

I wasn’t really lost
I was bored
Left alone yet again
this time I crossed the road
wandered through
an overgrown garden
in an open door
There were people
but as well a playful pup
just about the same
size and age as me
We chased one another
round the house
a house designed for this
Parlour to dining room
to kitchen, to hall
to front hall
to parlour again
then reverse as I chased
the pup – Lizzy

The people were worried
that I was really lost
They put me back
out the front door
It took me no time
to find the kitchen door
and join them again

When we had played
some more
Lizzy and I settled down
in front of the fire
I kneaded the carpet
while I had a comforting suck
of the end of my tail

Visitors arrived for dinner
One unceremoniously
turned me upside down
announced I was female
and, though only half grown
old enough to have kittens
This gave them pause
(and me paws…)

I stayed with them the night
and the next day
they went up and down the street
knocking on all the doors
looking for my owners
No one had lost the half grown
black and white kitten
they’d already christened
Doughnut – the round shape
Imparted by tail-sucking

So they went to the vet’s
and left me there
for a day and a night
In the morning,
the jovial vet
presented me back
to the family
saying, with a great laugh
I’ve got news for you
Now he’s dough
without the nuts!

It was several days
before the family
across the road
claimed me
but it was too late
My heart belonged
where Lizzy bounced
and waited.

Years later
the family’s children
persuaded a visit to the
cat show was in order

There was a hideous gold-plated
plastic award for
the Supreme Domestic
which was mine
I also won
Cat with the Longest Whiskers

It all made such
a good anecdote
They had watched me
sucking up to the judges
just as I sucked my tail
(sucking was my forte)
Extrovert, loquacious
I convinced them of
my Supreme status

The Award
in all its glory
sat on the mantelpiece
while the story
was replaced by others
They forgot the trophy
grandiose, ugly
sitting there
above the fire
as if in pride of place
When they realised
they hurried it away
to a far corner
never again
to be seen in public

But I knew I was Supreme
so did Lizzy
and later a new kitten
fluffy grey Obscure
And so did the family
who, in later less-lithe years
had the honour of holding my tail
to my mouth for comfortable
convenient sucking

AUTHOR’S IMAGE CAPTION: Doughnut and Obscure, a painting by Christopher Caitlin, about 1992.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is, of course, a true story. Doughy (as we usually called him) was a charming cat. I wish I had taken a photo of husband John in bed, cat on his chest, book in one hand, cat tail in the other, held to the cat’s mouth for convenient sucking. You never think about a photo of everyday sights until it is too late. Sigh!

lowe silver birch1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Virginia Lowe has run a manuscript assessment agency for 20 years. She previously lectured at university and was a school and public librarian. She has been writing poetry for about 50 years. Her autobiography in verse A Myopic’s Vision is ready for publication (one poem for each year to seventy), and she is working on two novels for children and young adults. She has had seven poems published on the internet by Silver Birch Press, others in Ekphrastic Review, Right Now!, Australian Children’s Poetry, and twelve others anthologised in print. She writes a regular column on children’s responses to books, “Two Children Tell” in Books for Keeps and her book is Stories, Pictures and Reality (Routledge). She was awarded the Leila St John Award for services to children’s literature in Victoria by the CBCA in 2016.

by Rhys Feeney

Whether we lost our cat
or he lost his himself
I still don’t know.

He didn’t wake me up
in the mornings for checks,
didn’t watch me take my meds.

I lost my appetite
knowing somewhere he
wasn’t eating.

For a while, he was locked
away in a shed or a garage,
I lost track of the days.

I don’t know what he did
(cats can sleep for 20 hours a day)
but I know that he cried

and scratched at the walls,
begging someone to let him out.
Outside, sparrow wing-fall

tortured him. I remember
when I was locked away
for a week, I too

cried and scratched
and slept most of the day.
(Out on the patio, in the sun

watching the clouds
move freely. I was very
much a cat then.)

We both got out
and helped each other find peace.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My cat, Rocket, basking in the garden sun a week ago (Photo by A. Davida Jane).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: About a year ago my neighbours went on holiday for about a week, and at the same time, my cat disappeared. He’s normally very affectionate, and it was shocking when he didn’t come home. We did he usual “Lost Cat”-poster charade, but he just turned up by himself one day, starved and scared. This poem plays on what I imagine his experience was, and my own in a psychiatric hospital.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rhys Feeney is a 20-year-old British-born poet living in Wellington, New Zealand. He’s a recent BA graduate in English Literature and Film Studies from Victoria University. His poetry has previously appeared in blackmail press, The Rising Phoenix Review ,and -Ology Journal, and he writes regularly for the music blog Daydream Nation. He’s a cat person.  More of his writing can be found online at

by Shelly Blankman

Who rescued whom, I couldn’t say. He
jumped on my shoulders, wound around

my neck like a wispy white boa with gray
Rorschach splotches. Clung to my collar

like Velcro until we came home, where
his crime spree began. He stole my

eyeglasses and hid them under our
bed, ate food we were eating, drank tea

we were sipping, shredded our calendar
June through September and a year later,

he wasn’t ours. We were his. With winter’s
first breath, Gizmo vanished. We searched

corners, crevices, closets, and the crawlspace,
combed bushes and yards, checked pounds,

vets, newspaper ads, posted signs on every pole,
but our efforts were like building a snowman in

the sun as any hope of finding Gizmo melted away.
After three days of not fighting for my food, we hired a

canine unit with the Schwarzenegger of dogs, a
strapping German Shepherd, with bleach-white teeth,

ears perked for duty. Twenty minutes later, she found
Gizmo, shaking, thin as a spare rib, but safe. I swaddled

and snuggled him, gave him food on my plate, water
from my glass and waited for him to tell me what to do next.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: After a long separation, here I am once again sharing my food with Gizmo…this time quite happily.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: We live in a cul-de-sac. Gizmo was found in a small space under the end house, hidden out of view. The search dog followed Gizmo’s  scent all the way around the cul-de-sac, in front and in back of the houses, across a field and back,  apparently before taking refuge in the this tiny space.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Shelly Blankman and her husband are empty-nesters who live in Columbia, Maryland, with their four cat rescues. They have two sons: Richard, 32, of New York, and Joshua, 30, of San Antonio. Her first love has always been poetry, although her career has generally followed the path of public relations/journalism. Shelly’s poetry has been published by Silver Birch Press, Whispers, Verse-Virtual, Ekphrastic: writing and art on art and writing, and Visual Verse.

If You See a Dog Who Fits This Description, Please Reply
by Steve Klepetar

Has a long, lolling tongue, red highway winding through mist,
this dog who has hunted serene in green woods, deep north
where wild chickens roam, dug up nests between cherry and oak,

swum out through grass-rich ponds, her fine long ears floating
at water’s edge. She barks little, in blurry clouds of sound, music
of scent, and breeze scurrying through honey fur. In the landscape

of dreams, even wandering birds cannot escape gravity’s delirious
pull. Memory braids their feathers, crimson tips on bright black
wings. This dog will know their names, place each flight path

PHOTO: Cocoa Klepetar.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Her name was Cocoa, and we found her chasing a flock of white birds in the park near our house. It was as if she just reappeared from nowhere. This is the lost dog notice I would like to have written, and attached to every lamppost and telephone pole in town.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Steve Klepetar lives in Saint Cloud, Minnesota, but is currently working in Fremantle, in Western Australia. His work has appeared worldwide in such journals as Boston Literary Magazine, Chiron, Deep Water, Expound, Phenomenal Literature, Red River Review, Snakeskin, Voices Israel, Ygdrasil, and many others. Several of his poems have been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart Prize (including four in 2016). Recent collections  include My Son Writes a Report on the Warsaw Ghetto and The Li Bo Poems, both from Flutter Press. Two new collections appeared in January 2017: A Landscape in Hell (Flutter Press), and Family Reunion (Big Table Publishing).

Summer Lost in Summer
by Martina Gallegos

I got her just before the end of spring;
she was boisterous as can be
and refused to sleep in her bed.
She was easy to potty-trained
and quickly loved to go for walks.
She didn’t mind baths too much
and ran like a Tazmanian Devil afterwards.
It was the same at the doggie park,
but all this happened before I got sick.
She even ran out of the house a few times
and ran super fast and looked like a Bambi,
but we always managed to catch her.
On my first outing after my incident,
she went with me to celebrate 4th of July;
the idea of firecrackers didn’t clue me in;
they were neither good for her nor me,
but I could cover my ears, not she.
Then she started smelling food all over;
her rear perked up quickly.
She wanted food and wasn’t going to wait.
She began pulling away from me,
and I couldn’t hold her back; I was too weak.
My weak left hand didn’t help my right;
I let go, and she zoomed out of sight.
I saw when a lady took hold of the leash,
but I could barely walk; I’d lost summer
in midsummer.
I hoped she’d come back but never did;
I missed having her sleep next to me
and take naps in my lap and going for walks.
I’d cry for many nights and actually
felt her next to me but never was.
It’s been almost five years, and I still miss her;
I’d ask for her back if I saw her again
even though now I have another rescue pet.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I took Summer’s picture at the beginning of summer 2013; she’d just taken a bath and was rolling on my bed.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I’d lost the sweetest rescue dog to cancer, so after a couple of years I realized I needed a companion since my daughter was going off to college. We learned somebody was giving puppies away. My daughter, my brother, and I went to visit the family. They told us they’d planned to open the gate and let the pups free. When my daughter was shown one of the pups, I knew she was going home with us, and she did. This was back in late 2012. I lost my pet July 4, 2013, and I still miss all my pets.

Gallegos Robles

Martina Gallegos 
came to the U.S. from Mexico as a teenager and lived in Altadena and Pasadena through high school. She then moved to Oxnard and attended community college and university, getting her teaching credential. She graduated with her M.A. June 2015 after a severe stroke. Works have appeared in Altadena Review, Hometown Pasadena, Silver Birch Press, Spectrum, Somos en escrito, Spirit Fire Review, and Basta! She was named San Gabriel Valley Top Ten Poet. Her book, Stepping Stones: Journal to Recovery from Stroke and Brain Injury is now also available on Amazon.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: I don’t recall who took my picture, but it was the same year, 2013, at College Park in Oxnard, California.

Monkey Art
by Mark Hudson

I was in rural Ohio when I was a teenager, and I was at
an outdoor art festival, and I saw a man painting
art on circular blades of chainsaws. Out of the
blue, I said, “Could you paint me a picture
on one of those circular blades of an orangutan
sitting in the branches of a tree, with a bluebird on
his shoulder?”
So sure enough he did, and I must’ve given
him ten bucks or something for the art on the
chainsaw, and I still have it thirty years later.
It hangs in my apartment, and
I walk by it every day, and don’t even notice it,
because my apartment is full of endless paintings
and prints piled up to the ceiling! (Don’t let
my landlady read this!)

AUTHOR’S CAPTION: “Orangutan with bluebird on shoulder” chainsaw blade art commissioned by the author in rural Ohio.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mark Hudson is a writer and artist who writes about every topic under the sun. He likes monkeys and has often created art about monkeys. And in high school used to have a fascination with King Kong. He has only watched one or two of the Planet of the Apes movies, but thinks it hardly is just monkey business.

Death shared a picture on your timeline
by Massimo Soranzio

A turtle stranded on the beach today
Caused life to be suspended, then and there.
People crowded the shore on that spot, they
Took selfies, or looked sad—but did they care?

I watched the scene from a distance and saw
Its deep-sea green carapace spotted white
By harmless barnacles, whose only flaw
Is, they’ll move only if they hold on tight.

Well, I don’t really like corpses, you know,
And I felt kind of sick when I was told
It was missing one eye, a dreadful show
(Yet quite attractive to some) to behold.

A meaningful, long life suddenly ends—
What stays is someone’s picture shared with friends.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: The same beach, with people concentrating on something else one summer later. This is Grado, on the northern Adriatic coast.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I was participating in an online workshop a couple of summers ago, and I had a deadline to write a poem adhering to some metrical form. I have always been in love with the sonnet form, which is often present in my poems in some variation, even when I apparently write in free verse. Anyway, I had spent my day at the beach with my family, and I still had in mind this unpleasant episode, so I decided to write a sonnet about it. (The text has been revised a few times since.)


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Massimo Soranzio writes on the northern Adriatic coast of Italy, about 20 miles from Trieste. He teaches English as a foreign language and English literature in a high school, and has been a journalist, a translator, and a freelance lecturer on Modernist literature and literary translation. He took part in the Found Poetry Review’s National Poetry Month challenges Oulipost (2014) and PoMoSco (2015), and in a virtual tour around the world with an international group of poets on