That Darn Cat

The first breath of air upon going outside forklifts acres of nostalgia straight into my senses. I am alive with possibilities, alive with memory. A swift, brisk current sends the first leaves from the trees as I reach to pull my sweater down around my whitened knuckles. Autumn takes me back home. A sense of renewal, expectation, and sudden loss.

My hand marks the voyage to her name, a past horizon. Moving now past broken glass, discarded scaffolding, rotting lumber, wet tree litter. Her forest shelter lies in the center of a burnt-out redwood trunk, deep below fallen needles, alien insects, and the creeping, long-legged spiders.

They hid her from me when she died. Gandalf, the big dog… the “cat killer” took her in the French broom beside the dirt road. Everyone was upset, except for me. They were so serious when they told my empty face she was gone. Too young for grief, I felt nothing. I was curious about the body. The carnage was deemed too graphic for my young eyes. Fate and decision were not mine.

They buried her in a black plastic garbage bag in the old tree trunk in our mountain yard. I visited there daily, paying sacred homage to my first scene of death. This was spook of a place. My dead cat in a burned redwood tree. A young girl sitting among the redwood needles pretending to be a witch. The strange sensation of feeling nothing. The ghost of this memory marked the cold passage into autumn.

for D.C.


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