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A Twist in the Tale: Poem for an Old Gray Cat

Jenny's cat, Skitter

Skitter, Jenny’s cat

By Jenny Kalahar

In times of sadness or worry, a pet seems to have a sixth sense that we need them to stay close, soothing our fears and calming us. Pets can lower our blood pressure, help against depression, and provide companionship without questions or demands. I’ve found that the older the pet, the more they seem to be in tune with our emotions, especially when we’re blue or agitated.

Poem for an Old Gray Cat

Kneading my lap
her weight against my stomach, purring
she is willing me to stay, to stay
seated at this screen a while
and type to keep her company

And so I write a poem for this cat
gray with words of dusty gray and steely gray
and nearly nightfall, shadow gray
all different shades that blend upon her:
a perfect palette of cat-fur grays

I write about the rise and fall of her contented breaths
how they ripple repeatedly in her fur.
In and out and rise and fall, and now and then
an extra sigh of contentment
dipping her sides further in

Here are words about her whiskers:
white, delicate, of uneven lengths
broadened in yawns, and then condensed
knowing in advance when a hand will land
a pet along her silken neck

And now I notice her fine tail
slightly keeping rhythm with her imperturbability.
Not harsh flicks, this wand of gray
nor agitated jerks.
But in slight movements like a conductor’s baton
she directs my affections and my typing fingers on
to yet more admiring words of her


Jenny Kalahar, her husband Patrick, and their pets live in Indiana where she sells used and rare books and writes novels and poetry. She is the author of a fantasy novel about teens stuck with the worst-ever magical power,This Peculiar Magic. Her two novels about fostering cats are Shelve Under C: A Tale of Used Books and Cats, and The Find of a Lifetime. Her collection of nostalgic and humorous poetry is One Mile North of Normal and Other Poems. For more, visit her blog.

More from Jenny:

Wallabies

The Littlest Raccoon

The Wonderful Pigs

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