Hildegard is seventeen, or maybe six-.
 She helped me raise three kids,
 watched men come and go, hissed
 either way: hello, good riddance.
 Like true roommates, we don’t kiss
 or cuddle. Sadly, I’m slightly allergic
 so only scratch her ears and chin, 
 tolerate her needled love nips,
 wash before I touch my eyes and itch,
 periodically brush her coat, let her in
 and out to prowl night’s holey pockets
 and ward off that other cat who likes to piss
 on our threshold. Little bitch. Hilde
 knows I love her: I scoop her shit,
 meow back when she wants to chit
 chat, don’t scold when I step in her vomit. 
 Like me, she’s gotten fat, likes to sit
 upright like old Hotei and slowly lick
 her round belly. It swings when she skits 
 across the floor, and her eyes, sky slits,
 are fading strangely: ghostly, distant.
 Perhaps she’s going blind, but not decrepit,
 not yet. Last week, before a 5 day trip,
 she went missing getting her night fix.
 I meowed from the porch, across the mint,
 and she returned the call from her pit
 beneath the porch, behind the lattice.
 Her eyes burned yellow, that spectral glint
 of flashlight. Here, kitty, kitty. She wouldn’t. 
 Under the steps, on sore knees, I flashlit 
 my waggling finger tips, luring her with 
 touch. That is all it took. She came, slid
 against my sharp edges, her catnip. 


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