Archives for posts with tag: pets

Morris–
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
disease.

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.

Morris–

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.

a-kind-of-cat-1937(1)
Curiosity
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.

boy-with-a-dog-1905.jpg!Large
Sammy
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 windofflowers.blogspot.com.au.

doughnut and obscure
Doughnut
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
Bliss.

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!

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Virginia Lowe has run a manuscript assessment agency createakidsbook.com 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 booksforkeeps.co.uk 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.

Feeney_lost_cat
Ailurophilia
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
eventually
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.

Feeney_bio

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 rhysfinneywriting.tumblr.com.

blankman
Catnapped
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.

shelly3

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.

cocoa
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.

klepetar1

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).

pablo romero
Wild
by Judy Kronenfeld

Door accidentally left ajar
and the new dog’s gone,
a splendid flame
devouring the open road.

I scream her name—
the one anthropomorphized
into being as she licked
my fingers through the bars
at the pound—and am not
surprised it has
no claim on her.

Shocked at the profundity
of my grief, I scour
the neighborhood on foot—
wet-faced, unhinged—
then in my car, windows open,
yelling hoarsely into the wind,
but she’s split. The streets
rebuke me with
their emptiness.

Our mammal blood
finds beauty in some furred
beings, as clearly as in
a human face. I see hers
with all the gravity
of a memorial portrait, remember
how we joked “she’s a beauty
and she knows it,” as if that beauty
reflected positively on us!, how we
chuckled as her long white rump fur
swung to and fro as she trotted
chicly before us—like tassels
dangling from a chorus girl’s bodice.

An hour later there she is,
on the porch, waiting politely
to be let in, the vixen! She settles
into her corner of the living room,
agrees to her evening walk
on the leash, licks my cheek when I bend
to release her again. And though I feel
like the teacher whose student
sat in the front row, gah-gah-eyed
all quarter, then slammed her
on the evals, of course I forgive
my dog (as if she understood that)
because something lost–so missed—
returned, returns more than what
was lost. Oh children are patted
down again, comforters drawn
to their chins, parents in easy
chairs after tucking real children in—not
touching pictures to their lips, hating
themselves for that second they weren’t
vigilant—kith and kin at home
in their tracts, ancestors tucked
into his and her plots, none of them
flooded into the next county,
tsunamied to another country—you think this is
too much, but look at us, one furred,
one not, neighborly as we were
in our Pleistocene cave at the beginning
of our long and peaceful friendship,
our housebreaking of the wild, not scheduled
to burn up in the sun, but at home
at the hearth of the world,
our scents marked here forever.

IMAGE: Watercolor by Pablo Romero. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

SOURCE: Originally published in Cimarron Review 163 (Spring, 2008); reprinted in Judy Kronenfeld, Shimmer (WordTech Editions, 2012).

Sweet Izzy curled up in her bed

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
My relatively newly adopted mutt, with whom I fell in love at the country pound, took off not too long afterwards, when we were busy with house renovations, and the door might have been left ajar. The experience was so piercing, and the relief so overwhelming that everything I had ever thought and felt about loss, as well as recovery, and related current world and local events (well, the poem made me realize I had been thinking about these subjects) came pouring out, and got swept in.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Izzy, our dog (though she’s quite a bit older here than she was when she ran away from home).

judy kronenfeld

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Judy Kronenfeld’s fourth collection of poetry, Bird Flying through the Banquet, was published by FutureCycle Press in March 2017. Her most recent prior books of poetry are Shimmer (WordTech Editions, 2012) and Light Lowering in Diminished Sevenths, second edition, (Antrim House, 2012), winner of the 2007 Litchfield Review Poetry Book Prize. Her poems have previously appeared in Avatar, American Poetry Journal, Calyx, Cider Press Review, Cimarron Review, DMQ Review, Hiram Poetry Review, Innisfree Poetry Journal, Louisville Review, Natural Bridge, The Pedestal, Portland Review, Sequestrum, Spoon River Poetry Review, Stirring, Valparaiso Poetry Review, and other print and online journals, and in 20 anthologies. She is Lecturer Emerita, Creative Writing Department, University of California, Riverside, and an Associate Editor of the online poetry journal Poemeleon. For more information, please see her website, judykronenfeld.com.

Gallegos1
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

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
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.

schmidt-2
Moving
by Rhonda Schmidt

At eight years old, I knew bugs and dirt.
I knew bare feet, weeping willows, and sunshine.
My home was the yard behind my house,
the yard where I sat with my brother, my dog, my turtle.
Days passed slowly there, cicadas hummed loudly,
calling attention to the quiet house in front.

Our dog, old and almost blind, was our comfort.
We told him everything, and with one ear cocked sideways,
he listened as we buried our face in his soft fur.

We shared our yard with doodle bugs.
Plump little larvae,
they built homes of sand, perfect little pits,
scattered under the dead oak tree.

There they stayed until they grew and took flight,
we watched them work,
as they flicked sand into the air, moving backwards,
master builders.

Then we gathered little sticks and stirred the sand lightly,
thrilled as we watched them rise to the top of the dirt,
and smiled as they scurried to hide,
sometimes catching one,
feeling the little feet tickle our fingers.

Maybe we set our destiny in motion,
for we would leave our backyard that summer,
our tears and pleading ignored,
our sticks and turtle left behind, the cicada’s silent now.

And so we sat in our father’s Chevy,
his cigarette smoke stung our eyes, his gruff voice offered nothing.
Our eyes wide, our voices silenced,
we pulled deep into ourselves, and waited.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: In this photo I am eight years old, in my backyard with my beagle, Babe (Midland Texas, 1968).

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NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: In our family, we moved often—every three to four years. This was hard for my brother and me. The memory of digging for doodle bugs is a good one. And even though not everyone has seen doodle bugs, they are interesting little guys.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Rhonda Schmidt started writing in her fifties, after working as a Registered Nurse for 30 years. She is a graduate student at Southern Methodist University in the Masters of Liberal Studies program. She is a native Texan, living in Dallas, and  yearns to move to any place where summer does not resemble hell.