The cat arrives the moment after she leaves the table, assuring us that she is okay, but coughing, the fibers growing in her lungs like moon flower vines squeezing the breath from her chest.

He, the cat, has always been this way, sensing the pain of people and coming round to be a comforting presence.

He perches on her chair, turning his head in time to the conversation, silent but a participant none the less.

The others at table are sure that he has simply come for the butter.
I know better.

He is here to make sure that I don’t forget her, unseen, softly coughing in the bathroom, my prayers falling like petals in the silence between her staccato breaths.

Written October 20, 2005


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