By on Mar 29, 2020 in Poetry

Cat eating from silver bowl

She is pointedly staring at the empty water bowl.
I fill it. Joints jolting, she thumps down to drink.
She can’t bend as low as she once could,
so her tongue lengthens to meet the surface.

She turns and turns and turns and settles,
her buff fur against my mouth, her eyes, inward.
She rises and turns and turns and settles again.
She smells like spices, like cinnamon, like turmeric.

With her bulging elbows, she cannot get comfortable.
She has not lost her softness with age,
only her lifting grace.
Now her grace is in her effort,

the timid movements she makes,
the way her pain opens me to her.
She is sharp when sharpness is called for;
she is tender when she is in the mood.

Ask for more. Be generous with the young.
Do it anyway. Express anger.
Accept pain. Accept pain. Accept pain.
In the moment, a kiss is distracting. Ask for one.


Eliza Callard loves her Philly and her family. She tackles books of poetry and cystic fibrosis every day, and eats a lot of Indian food. Her website is elizacallard.com.