Her Honey-Bunch, Gum-Drop, Sweetie-Pie Is Gone by Stellasue Lee Saturday, no calls I have to make, no plans of any kind, just this cat looking deeply into my eyes, questioning why my husband isn’t here— and if she could, she would order me to bring him back— When I try to hold her, comfort her, she gives me a stiff-legged response pushing away, and looks down her nose at me, her eyes wide, clearly questioning my presumption that she wants to be held. No!—No holding. Go to airport and bring him back! Every piece of fur points in that direction. I make breakfast, eat, shower, dress. I find her in the closet, face burrowed deep in his shoe. She doesn’t even bother to acknowledge my presents. Her alpha male is gone—her main- squeeze, schnooky lumps, knight-in-shining-armor, heartthrob, big daddy-yum-yum, cuddle-bear is gone, along with his lap, gone— And, since I am the one who is in attendance to all her kitty needs, she blames me for his absents. Later, she digs up a plant; throws up on my most expensive Chinese carpet, cuffs poor Tennyson after he washes her face, and pushes a kibble in her direction, offers to share his place in the sun. Tennyson, the perfect Tuxedo cat. He accepts it all, loves her anyway, as we all do. Kaylee, Kaylee, Kaylee, I want to coo, pretty girl, your daddy will be home on Thursday, but she is back in the closet, sitting on a shelf below his shirts, her head stretched up in a whirl of fabric, her tail drumming against a finished wood shelf, lost in her kitty world of mourning.
Origin Stories – Her Honey-Bunch, Gum-Drop, Sweetie-Pie Is Gone
How can I make it new to the reader, grief, buried so deeply within the core of a body?
We become so accustomed to giving comfort to those who are grieving, and the learned words lay on the tongue so at the ready, but how do we make it mean something at last, when grief follows the days as a black dog at our heels. This poem came from a friend’s “learned words” at a party years after the accident that caused my daughter’s death. I had to retreat to a bathroom, run water, muffle the sobs that welled up from a place in me I hadn’t known existed until that moment. There, I listened to laughter among the guests, music in the background. There were flowers, even in that tiny powder room as in the rest of that house, a moment in time where friends gathered for pleasure after a pandemic and isolation, yet my daughter’s life had become a paint brush of color, now faded to the edge of what remained.
Gyroscope Review Spring 2023 Issue Available now!
Previous Origin Stories
April 1 – Wanda Praisner
April 2 – Howard Lieberman
April 3 – L. Shapley Bassen
April 4 – Sharon Scholl
Previous NPM celebrations from Gyroscope Review
Let the Poet Speak! 2022
Poet of the Day 2020
Poets Read 2019
Book Links Party 2017