A Boy and His Cat

He was the one she came to first;

dragging her wounded leg through the doggy door

then down the hall and up the stairs to his room where she knew he would be

and laid along the length of her sleeping boy.


In the morning she was weak and the children didn’t know

what the choices were.


Can we save her, mama? They never asked—imagining a pink cast and a fast-

healing leg.

And when she came home again, she carried the arch of innumerable stitches

over the span of her hip

where there was no pillow of fur

over no presence of leg.


We tended to her scar so that it became a map of the path she crawled to find

him that night;

it healed without us knowing exactly what it took.


Patiently, she worked until her balance returned

and soft tufts of fur covered the certain line where her leg used to be.


On three legs, she brings him her gifts now;

she hears his cries and feels his

moods before he does.


And she would never miss a night to sleep by his side,

where friendships commenced in other worlds, collide.

Byron and Atlas


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