Shadow

She just slipped away.
It’s amazing.  One minute, you’re here,
the next, you’re gone.

She was dying, we knew,
barely able to walk.
We thought her eyesight was going, at the end.
She had lost control of her bowels weeks ago,
and sometimes didn’t make it to the tile floor of the bathroom.

The last time she laid down on the floor in the living room,
Mary put some newspapers under her.
She always liked to lie on newspapers.
And Mary draped a small towel over her,
as if her fur wouldn’t be enough.

A black cat who took advantage
	of an open window in our basement apartment
“Shadow.” our daughter named her 25 years ago.

Shadow breathed, as we do.
Shadow ate, as we do, 
and had food she liked or didn’t like.
Shadow watched, with a critical eye and a supervisory demeanor.
We lacked her calm detachment, 
her patience with human foolishness.
Shadow liked affection, as we do,
	and returned it.
		Although we can’t purr.

Then she didn’t move.
She didn’t move.
Now she is gone, as we too will go.
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