My Cat is Bread

wheat-field

because     what is a purr
but the promise of nourishment realized
in the rhythmic release of the heat
that’s accumulated in pockets
with the rise & fall of her breath?

& what is a bagel
if not a nose meeting the base of a tail
& little pink berry & black currant toes
neatly tucked to sleepy chin
all curled around a heart
that holds no lack?

because basking on my windowsill
in a pretzel of scruff     limbs     salt-tang
& afternoon-sifted sun     she is keenly sweet
like a wheat field’s essence of summer wind
in the last days before the harvest     hearty
with the warmth of a freshly-baked marble rye

because whenever i’m away from home
i long for her     knowing she’s there ‘kneading’
enough for the both of us (for     let’s be honest
no pillowy provender of fleece to grace my bed
has managed to preserve its store-bought virginity
for much more than an hour)

& because     although
I realize the time she yet has with me
will be fleeting    she will ever remain
the loaf of my life

STEPHANIE L. HARPER

UPDATE: Our sweet Hannah passed away from cancer at age 14 yrs. 5months on Friday, January 27, 2017. She lived with unapologetic grace, generously gave to us of her healing energy, and died with stoic dignity. RIP, beautiful girl…

The house has been empty and strange without her, but my grief is tempered by my gratitude and awe for the magical connection this quirky, smart, territorial, eight-pound (in her heyday), dog-terrorizing wonder of a creature made with her human family. Such is the spiritually-rich and filling nature of the “Bread of Life.”

hannah-2016

Hannah, age 14 yrs. 3 mos.

14 thoughts on “My Cat is Bread

    • Thank you! Upon coming across some adorable artwork in which illustrated cats in various positions were labelled as different types of bread (for instance, a cat lying with its paws and tail tucked under its belly was called a “loaf,” while a kitten in the same position was a “bun”), my daughter asked me to write a poem with the title, “My Cat is Bread.” It turned out that Hannah was diagnosed with cancer just a couple of days later, so this poem was a good way for us to process our feelings and prepare for the inevitable.

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    • Yes. Evisceration is an apt description… Luckily for me, Hannah reserved the biting and kicking for our dogs who were 12 times her size! We had to keep a gate at the bottom of the stairs to separate their domains (cat upstairs, dogs downstairs). We’ve now taken the gate away, but our remaining dog still refuses to touch the stairs…

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Thank you for your thoughtful response, Maureen. Yes, as much as losing fur-babies sucks, I wouldn’t trade the privilege of learning and growing through bonding with them to avoid the inevitable pain of saying goodbye. Even goodbye is a part of the magic. Also, I’m a little bit of a masochist…

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    • Thank you, Ellen. Yes, there’s nothing quite like cat love. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that they own us (no use in the delusion that it’s the other way around), yet still give so much?

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