Leonard

lies prone on the white tile kitchen floor;
his back legs have given way -- so
thin, matted black fur no longer sleek.

We remember how as a plump kitty,
Manx with tail, basketball on legs,
Lenny bossed little tabby Mamie.

A light breeze; bees buzz the lavender;
We phone the vet to have him put
down in the a.m., doesn't last the night.

Last evening from the Marc train, I saw
two finches fly to a thicket of thistles;
a drab female pecked at a flowerhead

until a bright yellow male nudged her
away, began to tear at the seeds,
white floss drifting skyward.

Christopher T. George


Prior version--

Greedy Sod

Lenny's fading this morning; he's lying on
the white-tile kitchen floor, thin legs splayed,
unable to raise his head, his black fur matted.


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We chose Lenny first, laughed at his off-center
white moustache; how he and Mamie would fight
to get to the chow bowl and over the warmth

by the living-room radiator: plump,
sleek-furred Lenny always muscled her
out. I carry the trash out, smoke a cigar,

prepare myself to mop up his urine, attempt
to clean him for his final vet visit.
A light breeze; bees buzz the lavender.

Last evening from the Marc train, I saw
two finches fly to a thicket of thistles;
a drab female pecked at a flowerhead

until a bright yellow male nudged her
away, began to tear at the seeds,
white floss drifting skyward.


Original version--

Greedy Sod

Lenny's failing this morning: 16 years ago
at the shelter we saved Lenny and Mamie
(tabby who died of a brain tumor at New Year).

He lies on the white-tile kitchen floor
disabled (broken leg?). He's become so
skinny, his black fur matted, unkempt.

We chose Lenny first, laughed at his off-center
white moustache; we recall how they'd fight
to get to the chow bowl, and over the warmth

by the living-room radiator: plump,
sleek-furred Lenny always muscled her
out. I've booked his last vet appointment.

Last evening from the Marc train, I saw
two finches fly to some thistles;
a drab female pecked a flowerhead

until a bright yellow male nudged her
away, began to tear at the seeds,
white floss drifting skyward.