Seven years old and in love
with a kitten born to the anonymous
family cat, I came home from school
one day eager to see her as always
a girl is eager to see the ball of fluff
known as kitten, cuddly and somehow
near to being just like me, the me
I wished for, an extension of my psyche,
laughter and playfulness in a life
bereft of both. My stern mother said,
before I changed into the designated
play clothes, changed my awful shoes,
when I had just slipped in the door
wary as always of my mother’s
ways,she stood at the sink, working
as always, not looking at me
but responding to the noise of me,
Your kitten died, crushed by the roll
of newsprint in the garage that fell
on it. I cleaned up the mess.
I stood there in the doorway
not comprehending what I heard,
picturing the towering roll of paper
so much taller than I, leaning
on end against a corner of the garage.
My brother’s Cub Scout pack used it
once to paint banners that hung
on a truck in the town’s parade.
It was never used again, thereafter
always standing on end in the corner
and it was heavy, far more than I
could handle. How could it fall?
She was doing something
at the sink and she studied what it was,
and she never looked at me
in my school dress and Dr. Scholl’s
shoes, which I hated, she didn’t bend
down, she didn’t soften the blow.
She crushed me like a roll of newsprint
falling as a ton of death on my fragile
body, my laughter, my kitten self,
never cuddly again.
More takes on the theme here.