Thursday, 11 August 2016

Coming to Katsuma: A poetry post

What can I say? Nothing sensible. My beautiful, massive cat is sick, dangerously sick, and I am beside myself, but writing about it helps. Nothing fits into a poem like the ones I usually write though. I can't make this fit. I can't make the feelings fit. So I'm going a bit freestyle. I don't know if it's good. I don't know if it's worthwhile sharing. But I'd have liked to have read it while I was Googling this stuff recently, and it helps me to write. So this is it...

...this was it (edit 18th June 2017). This was the first terrible thing that happened to Katsuma, in summer last year, and we did our very best for him, and as I mentioned above, I was beside myself. 

I miss him. I'm not the same. I'm still scared about leaving my kittens because leaving Katsuma, even though he was well looked after while we were away, was the thing that caused him stress and led to his death. It still doesn't matter that logically I know Katsuma had something wrong with his heart, in my heart, I know it was my fault because I went away, so this year I'm having difficulty with going away. The kittens seem fine with it, but I'm scared of leaving them for more than a night or two. I've fallen in love again and I don't want to lose them too.

Anyway. I wrote the first draft of Coming to Katsuma from a very raw place and I subsequently worked on it. It's got a lot better, and I've decided that the better version, the version that is going to be coming out in South West Writers' anthology, 'Pet Memories' is the one I should be sharing here. I don't want to share a bad poem in his memory, although it's valid that I shared my feelings with you when they were so raw. 

Thank you for all your support then, and special thanks to my friends who work together to check on the kittens and feedback to me how they're getting on so I can cope with my worry while we're away. You're all lovely.

Here's the new version:

Coming to Katsuma

The sun is shining when I hear his voice
insistently calling and then again.
He is not a chatty cat so how strange
to call, and again. The sound does not move.

And so I go to see and find him there
hiding down low in obvious distress.
No blood I can see, but pain enveloped.
He is most insistent. But does not move.

“Come out.” I say. “Come out.”

And he steels himself to drag his leg and
puff his breath and break my heart. The vet then.
She asks of cars and health and habits and
speaks of blood and hearts and clots that don’t move.

She asks about insurance, gives me forms
and smiles and makes nice comments on names and
hair and colours while she shaves patches of
ginger fur and Katsuma does not move.

“Come in.” She says. “Come in.”

And is it wrong to think death might be kind?
Not oxygen and medicine and bloods
and tears and stroking my stoned little guy
who might improve but does not want to move.

And I don’t want him to die, or suffer.
And one more day, and one more day, and one…
laying hands upon the miscreant leg
I imagine white light that makes clots move.

“Come on.” I say. “Come on.”

                             He does not move.

Ⓒ Cara L McKee 16/12/16

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