One minute the cat is an irritation
under your feet, on your lap, kneading your chest,
pawing your face as the sun comes up.
The next, he is lost.
Our hearts crash.
Every emotion cries out.
Dead? But how?
Wild animal? a hawk? a car?
He is beautiful. Did someone pick him up?
We do not know. We simply do not know.
We wring our hearts like we wring our hands.
The maddening part, not knowing.
That feeling roots itself inside,
sits there like a fat, grey toad,
licking its lips beneath an awful smile.
It will not go away until he is found.
Or, it will not go away…
The search begins for as long as it takes.
We comb the neighborhood
like we comb his fur,
every yard, every cranny and nook,
calling, calling, pleading…
He is found!
Clinging high in a tree,
in our own backyard,
scared by a loose dog
too terrified even to meow.
The toad vanishes,
replaced by a weak-kneed joy.
Come sit with me.
Published in Silver Birch Press