Monday, March 18, 2013

From the Empirical Archives: Joining the Thousand by Maude Larke


Joining the Thousand
Maude Larke

PHOTO: denizen24

Originally published in the September 2012 issue of Empirical


during the last month
I would do my yoga
as well as I could
in the slant-ceilinged bedroom

trying to do downward dog
without sliding on the carpet
and revolving lateral angle
against the foot of the bed

so that the cat
could stay up there
not alone

between the heart condition
and the water on the lungs
she needed to keep still

she could still hop onto the bed
and would still walk by
while I did the poses
rubbing where she could rub
while I held them

by the end she was down
to four kilos
and felt like a cheap toy
when I picked her up

during the last month
she insisted at night

after the yoga
the teeth brushed
the medicine forced down her throat

on sleeping on me
not beside
so turning over became a negotiation

on my side I became
a ridge to hold up
her sparse pine forest

but during the fits
of suffocation
she refused the bed

once she was done
writhing
backing
flopping over
she would stay

stretched out
more than full length
on her side
behind the litter box
tongue thick
saliva thick clinging
panting
and staring-eyed
or curled on the ledge

over the staircase
panting

then I would go back to bed
hoping my warmth would invite

at those times
I thought of my scarred lung
and began to be happy
that I did not have to worry
about what to do
if she survived me

at the others
I worried about
turning over slowly enough

after a month
the scars that she had made
as I repeatedly
pushed her into her cage
pushed her pills down her throat
had disappeared

but I could mistake
a drying backpack
left on the roof
outside the window
for her


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