Simon has an open wound in his mouth.
They say it is a tumor, a terrifying word,
and one that brings the idea of death
into the room and into our lives.
Simon doesn’t complain; he thinks
it is all a part of his life and probably
everyone has it—the pain, the inability
to eat, to stop drooling.
Unfortunately, he thinks, we keep
forcing his mouth open and squirting
in medicine that tastes like rust.
We offer him treats right after, but
he doesn’t eat them the way he used to.
One, maybe two, and he walks away.
We are trying to make his last days
or weeks wonderful, treat him like royalty
but still he fades. He used to be a fat cat
we called “cow cat” or “the bear” but now
his bones are sharp with only a layer
of silken fur covering them. He wants our laps
so we allow him to drool on our clothes,
spend every moment he wishes and call
him when he is absent. Such will be
all our days as long as possible
and then, that last trip to the vet where
they offer the towel when I gather him
into my arms while they give him the shot.
I don’t care what gets on me, just give me
a look of forgiveness and peacefully
slip into sleep. We will have to take home
the empty carrier, throw away his half eaten
food and sit with a huge emptiness on our laps.