Issue 13


Autumn 2014

 

Taken


I
Once the cat disappeared and
the man who picked up at
Animal Control said she
may have been taken by coyotes.

That’s what he said, taken
by coyotes, and I wondered if he meant
that she – the cat – had found coyotes
particularly charming or that she
had been carried off by them – a trophy
or a houseguest.

II
We couldn’t find his grave, my friend –
his widow on her first visit there – and I.
We thought we knew the spot and she had
a piece of paper with his new address –
the section, row, and plot. There should have been
a temporary marker but there was only
undifferentiated grass, no newer,
greener looking patch.

“It was the squirrels,” the caretaker told us,
sounding apologetic. “I know it sounds strange,”
he said, “but the temporary plates are shiny and
get carried off by squirrels. There’s one I’ve found and
put back four times already.”

III
The cat returned, only a little worse
for the adventure which did not, it seemed,
involve coyotes after all. She lived only
another few weeks, almost got to 20 – ancient
for a cat. The end, as it turned out, did not involve
coyotes either, although ever since I’ve found
something slightly pleasant in the thought of
being taken by coyotes.

IV
We never found the grave although we found
the general location. But all in all she was glad
not to have seen the very place, the shiny
marker on small grass; felt that, instead,
he could be anywhere, everywhere,
in clouds and trees and on the ground where
there were chipmunks, rabbits, and
the thieving squirrels and we     
saw them all and were taken.

______________________

Ellen Steinbaum