A hickory creature
decaying.

His figure,
his bones,
the whiskers poking like quills
on either side of his face…

It’s all melting,
like the snow seeping into his cat-sized grave.

Two Sundays
mark his progression
from a healthy feline,
to my dead pet.

The first Sunday,
he stumbles around the house,
sobbing like a wandering child.

I can’t help him.
He’s asking for me,
I can tell by the way his large eyes
of sour green
choose to stare at me.

I can’t help him.

But neither could the antibiotics
prescribed by the vet.

We had to force his mouth open
and shove the pills past his stubborn tongue.

The strength that we thought
lost in the battle of his bladder infection,
would erupt from his bones…
and he would thrash his body.

The force of his movements felt as though
I was dealing with a rabid animal.
Not my Jasper.

And I grew to hate that cat in his final days.

The boy who used to nuzzle his head into mine,
to where his fur would tickle
and attach to my nose.

The boy who would lay
and claim my body as his personal bed…
serving as a cuddly furnace.

He was no longer.

The soggy cat
who dwelled in the dark of our utility room for his final week …
that wasn’t my boy.

On that second Sunday,
he died in my mother’s arms.

The air smelled of urine
and lingering sickness.

And I cried
so hard my chest ached.