A young red male, long-haired
    with a tail like a fox’s,
with bird-feathers of fur
    upstarting between his toes;
who emitted a brief squeak
    of astonishment, like air
squeezed from a rubber doll,
    when he jumped to the floor
from a high bookcase; who rattled
    a doorknob trying to open
the door for himself; who,
    if we then opened it,
declined our absurd
    well-meaning suggestion
that he walk through it;
    who begged for meat and milk
like any cat; who nursed at us
    drooling and kneading;
who bounced and never walked;
    who moused assiduously
and lacking mice ripped hunks
    of carpetpad out
for swatting to and fro;
    who spent most waking hours
birdwatching from the pantry
    window; who looked long
into our eyes with evident
    curiosity and loved
to sprawl upside-down
    in our arms, splaying
long legs stiffly out,
    great ruffled tail
dangling; who abruptly
    wasted and died
of liver failure; whom
    we buried this morning
by the barn in the car’s
    graveyard under blue asters
tamping dirt down over
    a last red ear.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 5 Number 10, on page 32
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