Tag Archives: cats

Cardinal Sin

Dear Cardinal, I am so sorry
the cat who we keep as a pet
ate your partner.

You advertise for a mate
all over again
from the top of the forsythia.

Is it my guilt that detects a sad note,
or does that beating nugget of flesh
pump regret through your veins?

Either way, I absorb your loss,
buried no doubt as cat shit
under the earth freshly dug for peas and spinach.



IMG_8222I close my eyes and listen
To the impeccable silence of a January day.
Only it isn’t silence,
Just absence of human noise—
Except for that one small propeller plane
Droning across the blue sky.
The breath-fogging air is filled with bright pockets of sound.
In front of me the rapid flutter of chickadee wings,
Followed by a shrill chirp announcing safe arrival in the spirea bush.
Behind me a hairy woodpecker’s rhythmic rapping
Up and down the trunk of the maple,
Probing for insect larvae stunned into stillness by the cold.
Above, one long keening call from a red-tailed hawk,
A triplet of croaks from a raven,
Their swirling flight paths intersecting over my head.
In my right ear, a squirrel rasping the shell off a black walnut,
In my left, the wind riffling through a cluster of persistent oak leaves.
And let’s not forget the cat,
Mewing around my boots,
Complaining of hunger
Or boredom
Or both.IMG_8086


IMG_3230It’s that time of year again; my halls are decked with dripping snow boots, pants, hats, and mittens. We’ve been frolicking in the fluffy stuff, building forts, packing snowballs, snapping snow scenes for holiday cards.

First out the door on a snow day is Dahlia, our resident snow cat. Ever since she was a kitten she’s loved the snow. Her mother, on the other hand, is happy to sit on the doorstep, soaking up the rays, but not setting paw anywhere near that disgusting cold, wet, white stuff. IMG_7319

Love it or hate it, we all fall somewhere on the snow spectrum. As a child I was way over to the left, under radically obsessed. The fact that we rarely ever got more than a mushy millimeter of snow in Ireland may have had something to do with it. Even a good frost classified as a “snowy” day. And then one year we got the mother of all snowfalls. It snowed for twenty-four hours straight, and by the end of it, the country was in total lock down, which lasted for weeks. I remember walking along snow banks with the tops of hedges poking out, and coming across cars buried in snow caves at the side of the road. My toddler brother owes his continued existence to his red snow suit. But for that, we’d have lost him, sunk up to his little uxters in a snowdrift. Needless to say, I was in heaven. IMG_2134

Now, living in the Northeast US, we get at least one good footer of a storm a year, and sometimes more. When the local forecasters go into hyperbolic mode about the massive storm barreling our way, I still feel that tingle of excitement. And even if I don’t always want to run out and make snow angels, I delight in the transformed landscape, and drink in the sharp tang of snowy air. IMG_0999

I believe I inherited my love of snow from my father. He never failed to get excited about a flake of snow, and often, when I call him up and tell him of our latest snowfall, he’ll express deep envy. My mother—not so much. She falls on the other end of the spectrum. Happy to look at a pristine landscape through a window, while snuggled up with a good book and a cup of tea, don’t ask her to step outside.

Where do you fall on the snow spectrum? Love it, hate it, or somewhere in between?

IMG_0296 IMG_3282

I Hate My Cat

DSCF2120I have a confession:
I hate my cat.
Am I ashamed?
Mildly so
But I make no bones about it
She smells
She’s fat
I have to wipe her ass
I didn’t ask her to stay
She snuck into the basement and gave birth–
How could I say no to five kittens and two eager kid faces?
Didn’t think she’d stick around
After they were weaned.
She did.
I had her spayed.
She got fat,
Didn’t want to live in the basement any more.
Winter was coming,
How could I refuse?
And she’s been lying around ever since.
I could buy myself a fur coat with all the money I’ve spent on vet bills,
And then she has the nerve
To up and leave.
Just when I think she’s dead and gone
And I’m on the brink of tossing the kitty litter for good,
Dredging up a few fond memories to send her on her way,
She shows up again.
My husband says she’s found herself a fancy man
I say, it’s someone with a readier can opener than mine.
And yet, what can I say,
The animal’s tenacious,
A born survivor,
Still alive and kicking at 17
You’ve got to admire that
In a cat.