Eagle’s Flight – Oliver 1995-2014

Our cat died this week, after having been a part of our lives through much growing up and family events of all sorts.
These are my memories of Oliver.

Oliver died at 18
or so
not having birthdays celebrated
along the way
one loses track
but for a picture
as a new kitten with Brianne
who was 10

He and I had little rituals
by which we understood one another
he would follow me into the Music room
whenever I’d get up to
pray, write poems, or just waste time
when I wasn’t sleeping
and he loved to have me comb his fur

he liked being touched
even though some touch
made him nervous
and want to play
(or attack – sometimes hard to tell)
then his claws would come out
and catch an unwary hand

And he’d tell me on those mornings
that he wanted to go
outside
or to his food in the garage
or to milk and water in the kitchen
by scratching at our glass doors
until I roused myself from my chair

I’d follow him,
sometimes in front
sometimes behind
and he’d wait by the appropriate door or dish
for me to get the message
and I’d recharge it
with an ice cube in the water
more milk on top of the curdling milk he’d not finished last time
or a shake on his dry food dispenser
to fill a partially emptied bowl

he ate the same thing
for 18 years
with the occasional bird explosion in the yard
indicating he liked mourning doves best

Oliver was a cat who needed to be close to people
he wanted to be in contact

when we watched TV
he’d jump up on the couch
to be petted
and then he’d lay down
with his back
tight up against my thigh
and stay
as long as I stayed and didn’t move much

he slowed down as he got older
and developed a limp
that greatly accelerated in the last few weeks
of his life
and our house turned into a kitty rest home
when he couldn’t move much
for his  last couple of days

now he’s gone
but I find I keep looking for him
at our times together
in our places
in the places he’d hide or sleep or just appear.

he’s left an Oliver cat sized hole
in my routine

I’ll miss our times together

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About Clark W Johnson

I am a poet, interested in using poetry to explore my interactions with the spiritual. I find poetry captures tension, paradox and flow well enough so I can hold experiences at arms length and reflect on them from multiple vantage points. As I walk deeper with my God, I'm finding such a record invaluable for myself, and I find that pieces and parts touch others as well. I love and long for more points of contact along those lines.
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