Loss, grief, absence embodies in
Newton’s third law:
For every action,
There is an equal
And opposite reaction.
A fish and water
Pressing against each other.
Your lean against my leg.
My leg against your lean
Your stare countered by mine.
Your end of the leash,
My end jogging.
The day the needle slipped into your vein
As if a puncture into my own heart.
The day you galloped on your side into the void.
You a black hole.
My tenuous hold on the now.
It began with hairy knees.
My first words: Momma, Poppa, horse.
An unspoken agreement,
between ridged and smooth hooves
shod in steel, unmoving next to my small feet.
Lifelong passion began with pats on that jelly muscle
just by the elbow,
eye tracing the long vein to the whorl. Boy or girl?
Even as the view grew level with withers and mane, breathing,
stillness began every approach. Breath of shavings, manure,
sweet scent of horse hair, dander, being.
Eventually on board and watching swiveling
ears, my hips following lanky walking strides,
two made one yet two, me leading and following
listening and learning, striking out together.
Coming to know our very thoughts, intimate, connected
but always horse and then human.
Our gallop along the top of the steep-slope hay field,
leap over oxer and six strides to the roll top.
Elegance and grace, a dance between the natural being
between my knees and my soft connection in the reins.
May I never falter on my own two feet again.
Tater is no Jeoffrey
Of Christopher Smart fame.
There is no “elegant quickness”
In his 3-legged gait.
But he scrambles atop
The carpeted tower,
All shoulder muscles
His meow quacks
But he sings a hearty
Song of his people.
He chases lids,
When the dogs don’t,
Tackling and shaking his prey,
Returning them in perfect fetch.
Tater loves vegetables, especially lettuce.
Apples induce a frenzy of
Desire and acrobatics.
Find him wrapped up
With brother cat, Magoo.
Netflix evenings always
On a lap.
He sits outside the shower.
Jail breaks at the front door.
Begging to be held,
He drools on my cheek,
Bites my ear.
11 pounds of fur,
11 more all over the house.
He wraps his paw around
My little finger.
Yes, my liege?
I named you Punkin when
The man (who shattered my heart,
Broke our vows, but that was nearly a decade later)
Said you were an orange tabby.
You showed up.
I knew you were, instead, a
Just browned around the edges.
Now, you’re 15 years, minus a
Cancer-riddled leg, old.
A full decade as
You quacked a noisy demand today that
The man (who healed my heart,
Made real vows, promised forever)
Cuddle you in his arms, too.
Snapshot this moment.
Hold it forever.