Put her to sleep
the vet would suggest. Instead
we fold a towel on the sofa, on our laps.
Models of patience, we wake to cat piss
on our sheets, cat piss
on our pillows, our nightclothes.
Put her to sleep?
I’m tempted to drop her out the window.
Maybe you’ll think twice now, pussy.
That absurd anger
bred of helplessness.
I shampoo a cat in one house
and bathe a man in another, these two
who’d been so fastidious.
My father sleeps in his urine.
No matter how careful any of us are
it gets on his bed, his pajamas, the floor,
my hands. At night, alone
I lift my own underwear to sniff,
to try to understand that pulsing
in me. We don’t blame a wave
for breaking, a stream
for turning one more corner.
Why is it difficult then
to wear this odor
proudly, as if returned from a long voyage,
a scent as impossible
to get out of one's clothes as the reek
of salt marshes, fens, unfathomed