Elegy with Tail Curled

By Grace Mitchell


Shy like me, we got along.

Toddling off to a bedroom of dust and perfume, lying on scratchy carpet,

outstretched arms beckoning you from the safety of your cave.

Dark and quiet as death underneath, bell’s tinkle told me you were there.


Two entwined flowers wilted together, we learned what grief meant.

You lost a home, a family. Bravely shoved inside a carrier,

flown to the very strangers you once hid from.

Singing at rainy cemeteries, a rock lodged in my throat, I came home to you.

Grandma’s soprano soared over Broadway notes. You liked to sing, too, as if in a duet.

Do you know what a song means in death, a new family member for two lost?


We hoped you’d make it through Christmas, but the autumn wind carried you away.

You’d become an angel, too, like all the hymns had said that fateful spring.

Instead, I saw an identical ceramic blue-eyed statue, once in Grandma’s china case.

How your mischievous paws had always longed to explore it!


Now you sit on my desk, tail neatly curled, and in Grandma’s countless photo albums.

Eyes raised, plotting how you’ll take down Grandpa’s birthday balloon.

Seated proudly on a table you aren’t allowed on; she snaps the picture before a scold.

Pretending to be innocent in Grandpa’s lap as he dozes in his chair.

Beautiful and still, your white coat never fading.

How wonderful it is to think the three of you ever existed at all.

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