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"A Week After," by Sarai Austin

A week after Evander dies

I sweep the last of his fur

from the plank floors.

Dark, difficult floors that

are a challenge to keep clean,

with or without a cat.

Death keeps company

with our worst memories,

the way he crawled behind

the toilet, the sink.

Sticking his head beneath

the baker’s rack and finally,

resting in front of the screen door,

as though waiting to leave.

Until we fell asleep,

giving him peace,

you on the kitchen floor a few feet

from where he lay,

me in the next room on the couch.

An hour later, 1:20 a.m.,

and then we wrapped him

in his favorite green towel

that matched his eyes.

In the morning we buried him

in the wild corner of the yard,

outside the window that’s over my desk,

where the bird bath sits,

the only thing we brought

from the house that burned,

except Evander.

Born on a farm along the banks of the Mississippi, Sarai Austin has spent her adult life in Southern California. She has taught personal narrative at UCSD, performance poetry at Idyllwild Arts Academy, and has been the recipient of California Arts Council grants. For a number of years she coordinated a poetry reading series, from which she published an anthology of participating poets. “A Week After” is from Austin’s recent collection In, Then Out, published by Liddie Dabbs Press and reprinted by permission. Author’s photo by Richard Astle.

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A week after Evander dies

I sweep the last of his fur

from the plank floors.

Dark, difficult floors that

are a challenge to keep clean,

with or without a cat.

Death keeps company

with our worst memories,

the way he crawled behind

the toilet, the sink.

Sticking his head beneath

the baker’s rack and finally,

resting in front of the screen door,

as though waiting to leave.

Until we fell asleep,

giving him peace,

you on the kitchen floor a few feet

from where he lay,

me in the next room on the couch.

An hour later, 1:20 a.m.,

and then we wrapped him

in his favorite green towel

that matched his eyes.

In the morning we buried him

in the wild corner of the yard,

outside the window that’s over my desk,

where the bird bath sits,

the only thing we brought

from the house that burned,

except Evander.

Born on a farm along the banks of the Mississippi, Sarai Austin has spent her adult life in Southern California. She has taught personal narrative at UCSD, performance poetry at Idyllwild Arts Academy, and has been the recipient of California Arts Council grants. For a number of years she coordinated a poetry reading series, from which she published an anthology of participating poets. “A Week After” is from Austin’s recent collection In, Then Out, published by Liddie Dabbs Press and reprinted by permission. Author’s photo by Richard Astle.

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Comments
3

i gotta think about this one...lol

is it dark humour..perhaps

Aug. 10, 2011

A very nice and tenderhearted poem about the loss of ones pet. I don't see any "dark humor" in this at all; just a very sensitive account of how an animal is missed.

Aug. 16, 2011

it is dark...and off handed...stoicly tender...i didn't see the tenderness at first Rambling...thx for pointing it out

Aug. 16, 2011

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