TabithaHow do I honour my time with you?
My words do not say enough
so I content myself in habits.
I weed your garden lovingly,
let the soil drink its fill,
plant purple cosmos in the earth
around the upholding statues of angels.
The ivy curls around your grave,
weaves deep into the dirt, concealing
the frail skeleton of a cat,
mummified in eaten lace.

TabithaOn Tuesday evening, I make a warm blaze
in my living room fireplace, half in habit, half thinking
how you loved to stretch your body out
to the ends of the heavens there
and grace my night. But surely the space
you leave behind
is dust of the wings of angels.

On Thanksgiving Day, I cook a turkey,
save the choicest bits for you,
then half realize, you are no longer
there to celebrate the feast.  I come home late
from philosophy parties, wine drunk, staggering
on the heavy dregs of past lovers,
stumble through the door
eager for solace
and there are no cat sounds to greet me.
Yet the soft cries of the wind those nights
and the heavy warmth upon my bed
are an animal to me, so familiar.

It’s habits that get us through;
habits leaving, habits forming;
the little nuns of the day come running,
heads down, wings to the wind
pushing through the hours,
on moon blown nights
are swept up to the stars.
And it is habit now, too,
that makes me pause hopefully
before pet store windows
searching for your eyes.


© Genine Hanns

Genine is a poet and acrylic artist from Victoria, B.C. Canada with a Double Major in Writing and English from the University of Victoria. She has had a number of poems published in quarterlies, anthologies, and websites in Canada, America, and the United Kingdom over the years.  She has thirteen chapbooks through her own publishing company, Phoenix Press.  She currently has a manuscript with Ekstasis Editions in Victoria and is hoping to see her first book of poetry published over the next two years.

About Tabitha: -

Tabitha was one of a litter of two kittens from an abandoned cat who frequented our back yard. One rainy day her mother, transporting her kittens, left Tabi in our wood bin where my husband and I discovered her and took her in. She weighed one pound at the time and was about one month old. I gave her the birthday of April 8, the same birthday as Siddhartha. She lived a long and happy life and was a great inspiration to me for ceramics, cards, paintings, articles, and poems. She was a wonderful friend, deeply loved, and an honoured member of our family.

Tabitha died on August 17th 2006. She was nineteen years and four months old. She had thyroid problems the last year of her life, then neurological problems; her back legs gave out from under her, she couldn’t walk, was very unhappy and refused to eat, so my ex husband and I made the decision to put her to sleep.



Dogs Come when Called

"Dogs come when called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

"Of course, every cat is really the most beautiful woman in the room."

Edward Verrall Luca (essayist)

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