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When we were young
We picked him out when he was just a kitten
because he purred like a motor engine
and was the prettiest combination of black and gray we’d ever seen.
I named him, fed him, grew up with him.
Every night he leaped gracefully on my bed,
kneaded at my blankets, and lulled me to sleep with his purr.
In youth, he lived adventurously outdoors,
his muscles flexing with every step,
his exercise striking fear into the heart of every mouse and rabbit.
One night, we were woken late by a scream in our house,
then ran out to the small living room of our trailer
only to find a dead rabbit on the floor,
while he sat there intensely turning it over with his paw,
as if he was a grillmaster flipping burgers.
The other day I found a dead mouse in my room, slaughtered by him;
and it called me back to
when he was young and strong
and killed the rabbit in our old living room.
He’s fourteen and unwell now.
His stomach swelled out to the berth of a hippo.
We don’t know why.
The vet found nothing amiss in the first barrage of testing
and the price of additional was too steep.
All that’s left is to wait for an inevitable decline.
For now, he continues to leap gracefully on my bed
and lull me to sleep with his purr.
And every night I wonder whether it may be the last
and I take the time to hold him close
and reminisce about the adventures we used to have
When we were young.