Your first night out of the foster room
you were waiting for me on the bed
as if you’d anticipated this
from the day I brought you here in the trap,
now, purring, twirling, looking
by turns expectant and uncertain;
I could see
you had known this moment before
in another home,
then you were outdoors
alone and terrified.
I wonder, as always, how did it happen?
Still, in the dark
your tiny wet nose
found the tip of my nose
quickly leaving a cold, wet dot of love
before your first night,
so happy you almost couldn’t settle down,
tucking into the warm spot next to me
you knew would be there.
Poem ©2018 Bernadette E. Kazmarski
We always wish they’d show up with a little note or something, but rescued animals rarely reveal their origins. Possibly they were very forgettable and they’d rather have that option instead of constantly repeating the sad truth of their abandonment and fear.
This poem is, of course, about Sienna, inspired originally the very first night I let her spend outside the foster room. She ran to the bed and was ready, little nose tap and all, and has slept next to me each night since then. Watching her I began feeling a poem form and, after getting to know her better for the past month, it fell into place.
If I let the realization that my rescued kitty knew a home and love at one time and then lost it, it will make me very sad, and this has kept me, behind the scenes, poking around in a few last places looking for a possible former owner for Sienna. She is about two years old, she was not spayed, an owner I would question, but can I criticize if she was actually lost when young and has been wandering since then? An owner looking who had given up, thinking she’d never see her again? Very timid, Sienna was impossible to approach when outdoors, and she may have even traveled several streets from her original home, even crossed the creek over the bridge, not far in distance, but the creek and bridge could be a physical and emotional barrier to her trying to return, or for her owner not to pursue, thinking she’d never go that far.
The young woman who had helped a neighbor with trapping Sienna told me Sienna was especially afraid of men. As Sienna has joined me in the studio she has watched traffic and people out in the street below, and only when my two male neighbors, not male children or any females, appeared on their porches or walks, I actually heard a low growl from her, standing stiffly, looking down at them. What would this mean? Can I piece something together from this? Should I?
But she knew a loving home, and the bedtime ritual, at one time in her life. Would a person who she loved that much and who would have treated her to that bedtime happiness just let her go? Well, it’s happened. People can be heartless, possibly there was a new baby, or a new boyfriend, considering her reaction to adult males, or it could have been that she loved the bedtime ritual but her humans found it annoying.
There are times when I never quite let go of the conflict of looking for a prior owner. I shared Sienna’s photo all over Facebook and in local groups, looking on message boards at lost pets and checking with local police and neighbors, and with signs. A few people did come forward thinking she was their tortie, but she turned out not to be.
And even though she found herself alone and living on the streets, she had no hesitation at all at loving a human again. The title refers both to her willingness to love again, and the lingering thought of another love she once knew.
She tries to get me to have a nap during the day too.
Read other stories in my Rescue Stories series on The Creative Cat.
Gifts featuring cats you know! Visit Portraits of Animals
Great Rescues Day Book:
Portraits, Rescue Stories, Holidays and Events, Essential Feline Information, All in One Book
Each month features one of my commissioned portraits of a feline or felines and their rescue story along with a kitty quote on the left page, and on the right page the month name with enough lines for all possible dates, with standard holidays and animal-themed observances and events. Great Rescues also includes a mini cat-care book illustrated with my drawings including information on finding strays or orphaned kittens, adopting for the first time or caring for a geriatric cat, a list of household toxins and toxic plants, or helping stray and feral cats and beginning with TNR.
Each book includes also 10 sheets of my “22 Cats” decorative notepaper with a collage of all the portraits in black and white so you can make your own notes or write special notes to friends.
The portraits in this book, collected as a series, won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the 2011 Cat Writers’ Association Annual Communication Contest, as well as the 22 Cats Notepaper mentioned below.
All images and text used on this site are copyrighted to Bernadette E. Kazmarski unless otherwise noted and may not be used without my written permission, although links to your site are more than welcome and are shared. Please ask if you are interested in using and image or story in a print or internet publication. If you are interested in purchasing a print of an image or a product including it, check my animal and nature website Portraits of Animals to see if I have it available already. If you don’t find it there, visit Ordering Custom Artwork for more information on a custom greeting card, print or other item.
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© 2019 | www.TheCreativeCat.net | Published by Bernadette E. Kazmarski
Weekly schedule of features:
Sunday: Essays, Pet Loss, Poetry, The Artist’s Life
Monday: Adoptable Cats, TNR & Shelters
Tuesday: Rescue Stories
Wednesday: Commissioned Portrait or Featured Artwork
Thursday: New Merchandise
Friday: Book Review, Health and Welfare, Advocacy
Saturday: Your Backyard Wildlife Habitat, Living Green With Pets, Creating With Cats
And sometimes, I just throw my hands in the air and have fun!
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