For a Dying Tomcat Who's Relinquished His Former Hissing and Predatory Nature
from the neighbor's pond, bounding beyond
her swung broom, across summer lawns
to lay the fish on my stoop. Thanks
for that. I'm not one to whom offerings
often get made. You let me feel
how Christ might when I kneel,
weeping in the dark
over the usual maladies: love and its lack.
Only in tears do I speak
directly to him and with such
conviction. And only once you grew frail
did you finally slacken into me,
dozing against my ribs like a child.
You gave up the predatory flinch
that snapped the necks of so many
birds and slow-moving rodents.
Now your once powerful jaw
is malformed by black malignancies.
It hurts to eat. So you surrender in the way
I pray for: Lord, before my own death,
let me learn from this animal's deep release
into my arms. Let me cease to fear
the embrace that seeks to still me.
"For a Dying Tomcat Who's Relinquished His Former Hissing and Predatory Nature" by Mary Karr, from Sinner's Welcome. © Harper Collins, 2006.
From "The Writer's Almanac"