I do love you,
gift to myself on Mother’s Day,

after 56 years of cleaning

cat shit. 

My first cat at age 11
black and beaming green eyes,
hit by a car.
His original name was Hercules, but
my mom said I could keep the cat
only if
I renamed him Louis, a name she came up with
after her first glitzy trip to Vegas (circa 1960’s).

So many: Louis II, Louis III, Louis IV,
Blondie–the Siamese who found us,
Little Bear, Napoleon, Gange, Gracie, Phideaux,
Lady Anne, Rosalyn & Nibbles,
my daughter’s childhood cat who had the nerve
to die while she was away at college, 
my son and I buried him in a flowered pillowcase,
on the left side of the house, where old purple iris,
returned every year at the first house I owned,
on Bonnycastle, still drive by every spring to pay my respects.

And, now, crazie Suzie cat, inherited,
my mother’s calico–it’s been 14 years,
she sent my second husband to the hospital
for 3 horrible days hooked up to 3 kinds of antibiotics–
(yes, cat scratch fever is a thing)
his temperature finally back to normal,
he never liked her much, 
she still swats her tail at him, nips at us both.
Suzie gets the deluxe litter box anyways.

I guess we should all be happy to be alive, 
whether scooping the poop ourselves or
emptying that secret drawer
of that sleek $700 litter robot,
with all the bells and whistles.
I love you litter robot
as much as all the cats in the whole wide world.