Poem: That Morning


My writing assistant, Tarquin. Sep 2001 to Dec 18, 2016

That Morning

Written Feb 8, 2017

I had laid the green throw blanket by the radiator.
He curled up on it and watched the gulls land on the
roof of the opposite building.
His whiskers still and claws retracted.
He alternated with sometimes getting up and
sitting in the basket by the corner window.
He sat there when he didn’t feel so well I think.
It had been Vancouver cold, not Toronto cold.
(He didn’t know what that was)
The blanket was Mom’s favourite.

That Saturday, a week before Christmas,
I took a photo of the street.
West Georgia clogged with holiday shopper cars
when the pavement was still bare of ice and snow.

That night I was tired because I had worried.
Had got up several times,
coping with the alien feeling when he
wasn’t on the bed beside me like normal.
About 2am he still rested by the radiator.
He looked comfortable.
I think he looked happy even.

He was still sleeping when he died.
I stood over him at his last breath.
I might not have been there.
I could have woken at the usual time and
found he had gone.
That would have been worse.

I looked up from him, out the window.
4:30 am snow fell in soft fast falling flakes
with the intention to stick and sticking.
Building up a couple of inches, rare for downtown.
Covering the sidewalks and the streets.
Coating the trees, softening everything.
The snow covering Jervis right down to the harbour.

Ten months ago, he would stretch across in sleep,
over our pillows and we never complained to him
within his earshot anyway.

Two thoughts. I felt alone and I would need snowboots.
In my mind I see someone else picking him up off the floor.
I couldn’t bring him back. 
And so the only healing solution.
A month later the snow was gone and two kittens 
raindrops down the windows.
Sometimes they slept soundly, but just for a short time.


By Wendy Stewart

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