May 10, 2010
By Kilia GOLD, Durham, North Carolina
Kilia GOLD, Durham, North Carolina
16 articles 0 photos 3 comments

Favorite Quote:
At your weakest you learn to be at your strongest.

The sun was shining and the sky was blue
The grass was green and cleanly cut
The cherry trees dropped soft pink petals
The azaleas were in full bloom
The house was bright with sunshine
And inside my old room, my old sanctuary,
My cat lay dead in the window

When I woke up that Sunday morning
Wrapped up in the light blue sheets
The door to my room opened slowly
My mom stood in the shadowed doorway
“The cat died last night. We’re burying her”
I sat up, still in my sleeping clothes
“Your dad said you can come outside if you want”

My laundry sat next to the bed, freshly cleaned
I pulled on a cami and stepped into my flip-flops
The cold door knob sent a shiver down my spine
I walked outside into the warm air
And down to the spot where a shovel lay
My dad looked up from the hole he was digging
“Good morning. Sleep well?”

I sat on the slope, the grass on my bare thighs
My shadow cast into the hole
Which was slowly getting bigger, shovel by shovel
A heap of mulch sat next to the dead butterfly bush
I wrapped my arms around my knees, hugging them to my chest
The sun was blinding me now
“Dad, do you want some help?”

He looked up at me as a swallowtail flew by
He looked back down and continued digging
The purple azaleas twinkled in the sun
The earthy smell of the upturned clay smothered the air
I grabbed the shovel and lifted out the dirt
That my father had broken up
“Where did we find her?”

We continued digging, upturning the soil
The sun was hot on my neck and black clothes
My second cat ran between my legs
Slowly, winding her way to comfort me
Her soft black and white fur filled with dirt
I lifted another shovel out of the hole
“I think we’re done. It looks deep enough”

He nodded and sent me away
He had cried while he was digging
Twenty seconds, no more than that, but he had cried
I stepped into the shower, letting the hot water burn my skin
I didn’t cry, though he had
Though my mother had as well
I couldn’t cry. I still can’t

I emerged clean, the dirt that had covered my legs,
The dirt that had come from digging her grave
Was gone, washed away down the stained drain
The mirrors were full of steam and blocked my vision
I walked down the hall, patches of various paints on the walls
The sunlight streamed through the windows
I went into the room looking for my dead cat

She lay stretched out on her side
Her eyes open wide and staring
I couldn’t bear to touch her
Her gray and white fur was marred with tan
I told her I loved her and stood up
I left the room, feeling numb
I walked away from my dead cat

We bought an apple tree. It grew three kinds of apples
It grows Fuji, gala, and yellow. It was tall with green leaves
We held my cat, her arms still outstretched
Her eyes wouldn’t close and she didn’t move when I touched her
Finally I could touch her, one last time
We told her we loved her
My mom cried, but I didn’t. I couldn’t.

I took the first shovel of dirt
And I slowly covered her body
We covered her completely, with dark clay and new fertile soil
Then we put the tree on top of her and filled in the dirt
And every day I will water and watch that tree
Remembering my cat, who lies beneath the soil
Silky, I love you. Good bye. Rest in peace.

The author's comments:
I wrote this about my cat. She died of stomach cancer. She went from a very fat cat that hated to be around people to a skin and bones kitten that wanted desperately to be with her family. She used to squirm and writhe when I held her. Before she died she didn't even have the energy to move her 2 pound body in my arms.

I miss her, a lot. This poem helped me cope. You might think it's stupid to write a poem for a dead cat... oh well.

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