Poem: Once

black cat on deck in snow dusk
Mimi on the deck at dusk.

Once

Once
A late snow
And I with early kittens in my belly
Hungry, thirsty, cold,
Crouched, focused,
Raced across this yard in the dusk,
Chased that startled rabbit
Nearly as big as myself,
Filled a need beyond my control;
Later, chipmunks scurrying
In leaves and mud
For my kittens under the porch,
Sometimes in the house
Again and again
All seasons.

Now, years later, I crouch here in the dusk,
I see the innocent rabbit silhouetted against the snow
And feel my body start,
Prepare, coil, I am ready,
But I remember there is no need,
Now I own this porch
And this yard
And the human standing behind me
Enjoying this deep dusk in late winter
Together,
My belly full,
But not with kittens,
I watch the rabbit nibble on a low branch
And let myself coil in response one more time,
I am a cat,
Then turn and look up at my person
And let the rabbit go,
My need has been filled.

. . . . . . .

I don’t know if Mimi would write a poem about it but these are my collected thoughts from a shared moment. We did this the other night, stepped out on the deck in the blue dusk, our favorite time of day, so full of sensory experience for both of us. After the warmth of a few days a storm had come through and rain and ice and sleet and snow fell and the winds blew and once again all was frozen over, but in its way the smooth perfection of fresh snow and ice, twigs and braches trimmed with a fringe of white was a wonderland.

We stepped out the back door, me with my camera, Mimi with her nose, sniffing along all the things stored on the deck for winter, and we stopped at the top of the icy steps, looking at the expanse of blue-white, Mimi in a resting crouch. Looking at her silhouette it’s times like this that I realize once again how tiny she is.

cat watches the rabbit in the snow under the forsythia.
Mimi watches the rabbit in the snow under the forsythia.

Then the slight movement of the unsuspecting rabbit in the corner of the yard as it nibbled on the lower branches of the forsythia made succulent with swollen green buds by the warm spell we’d had—my, those branches must have tasted good after a long icy winter! If not for that, the rabbit would probably have been totally aware of us and kept still as a rock out in the dusk.

I saw Mimi crouch down for a leap, then stop and relax, watch the rabbit intently, crouch again, then relax, sit up, and turn around to look at me. It was one of those moments when I feel she fully realizes her rescue and her exalted position in this house, and how I feel about her.

Does Mimi remember those days? Does she think those sorts of things? Does she carry sensory memories of that time in her life? I’m not sure if she does, but I do remember seeing her hunting in my yard in all seasons. I especially remember one March evening in 2006 when I saw her stalking through my snow-covered garden and leap out to race across the yard. The only thing that would have been alive out there at that time of day at that time of year was one of the rabbits who inhabit my yard. I didn’t manage to see how that turned out, but I did find evidence later.

Her name was still Maia and she was probably just turning three years old. The litter she was carrying would have been Lucy, Angus, Donal and Charlotte, born just about April 1, 2006. They would come to me in May that year. She along with Giuseppe, Sunshine, Bean and Mewsette would come to me the following summer, in 2007.

Mimi did not accept her position as rescued happy house cat quickly, but grew into it over a period of years, with tutoring from Namir and Peaches and Kelly, and especially Cookie. It was apparently difficult to believe. Now she knows. But I don’t think she ever forgets.

Poem ©2014 Bernadette E. Kazmarski

Or should I actually give Mimi credit?

NOTE: I debated about illustrating this because the photos are not good, but though the photos may not appear clear, they carry a moment I will always remember. Eventually I’m sure I will create an illustration because one is just bursting to come out!

This poem won both a Certificate of Excellence and a Muse Medallion in the Cat Writers’ Association 2014 Communications Contest.

I am thankful to Mimi for inspiring me, as she always does.


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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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Bernadette

From health and welfare to rescue and adoption stories, advocacy and art, The Creative Cat offers both visual and verbal education and entertainment about cats for people who love cats. From catchy and creative headlines to factual articles and fictional stories, The Creative Cat provides constant entertainment and important information to people who love cats, pets and animals of all species.

4 thoughts on “Poem: Once

  • November 18, 2018 at 4:31 pm
    Permalink

    I have always likes this story and poem about how Mimi came to your yard and then to you.
    You are right, dusk is a magical time of day,especially in Winter and early Spring.
    Mimi and her kittens have been lucky.
    Nancy and the kitties

    Reply
  • November 18, 2018 at 2:39 pm
    Permalink

    As usual, wonderful, Bernadette.

    Reply
    • November 21, 2018 at 8:17 pm
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      Thank you, Lynda. Mimi enjoys being outdoors, but still gives me that look that she remembers.

      Reply

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