Other Halves (draft 2, earlier Miniature)

You buried the stray kitten for me,
the one we took in for a week, trying
to save me from the graveside, the act of placing
in the ground, the small mound of dirt displaced
by a body wrapped carefully in cloth. We found it
in the brush beside our woodpile, wobbling on legs
splaying out like unsteady toothpicks, no sign of a mother.

I dubbed it Artemis, half a set of Grecian twins,
as a reminder of the tabby we had found and named
Apollo when we bought the house as newlyweds,
and who stayed with us a decade. Some months before,
you told me how his tumor metastasized within
the week I had not been there, and how you covered
the hole you dug in the earth over with mint and rosemary.

So you buried the kitten beside the first grave
because I’d said they looked the same. Or perhaps
you wanted to confine death to a single corner
of our yard, or maybe you hoped we could
put everything behind us and knew
the herbs would hide it quickly. Before digging,
you pulled them up from where they had multiplied
around the older grave, leaving only a rectangle of fragrant leaves.
They grew over the smaller mound within a week.

Intense revisions on this one. Not done yet.


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