We named you Daisy
for your white fur, because
you were "short-haired white".
Not only that,
you were not blue-eyed or orange-eyed,
but "odd-eyed white,"
one orange and one blue.
I took you to school
to show you to the children,
and they loved your strange beauty,
drew pictures of you
with their white, blue and orange crayons.
You lived as our other cats did,
tame house-cat in the day,
but free to come and go;
half-wild at night,
following your instincts,
even if they were dangerous at times.
Then, one sunny morning, as I watched
from the bedroom window,
I saw you running back home,
heading across the road, and that time
it really was dangerous,
as a car came past, exceeding the speed limit,
because in a race between speeding car
and running cat,
in the event of a tie,
the cat loses.
I ran downstairs and found you
by the gate,
warm and unmarked
but unmoving, unbreathing
Carrying you gently to the back garden,
I laid you on the ground,
preparing to dig your grave,
as Marmaduke, our tomcat, came by.
Not the father of any kittens,
but surrogate to all our females,
after a birth
he knew what to do.
He would visit briefly,
sniff the mother, sniff the kittens,
walk off, apparently unconcerned,
and a day or two later
return with a mouse for mother.
That was his function.
That’s what fathers do,
Only that day there was no birth,
and this time . . .
he sniffed at you,
at the hole I had started digging,
and walked off
in complete puzzlement.
This time he did not know what to do.