My husband calls,
he’s sorry he’s late
he’s on his way home
though not alone
I ask what color
sick in the road
cars beeping
till he jumps in his arms
I say No Way
till I open the door
snotty nose
boney spine
fur matted with fleas
he crawls up my neck
makes his soft belly heavy
on my face
while he licks my hair.

We must save him.

Months later
Joe won’t eat
maybe he got a pill
or a plant
maybe it's my fault
for being gone all week

The pet psychic says
he was poisoned,
he wants yogurt
in a blue bowl,
he has a toothache

The vet says
what happened
matters less
and feeds him all month
through a tube.

We visit everyday
never ask
how much it will cost.


It goes on till
they have to cut him
hope to pull out a string
a toy stuck in there
finds a gallbladder, bile,
triple their size.

His chances
too slim
still worth a try
if he ever eats.

Under a postcard
of St. Francis and Clare
I stick my hand
in his chicken
and up to his nose
he licks my fingers
then goes for the plate
like he’s hungry again.