the dead cat text (Phoebe Cragon)

The saddest part is probably how close I came to smiling 

when first I saw your text, before I actually read 

the one-line obituary for your sweet old she-cat.

We used to groan when our parents would joke 

that they only saw their friends at funerals. 

Is it stranger that we once had a script for this kind of thing,

or that I notice that you’ve forgotten it? 

i just thought you should know

You came to a funeral with me, years ago, my first,

though you didn’t really know my grandfather. 

The only familiar face in a crowd of blue elders, 

you had me laughing in my black dress. 

We had our own language back then, I swear

we had a script for this kind of thing. 

Now, I don’t know if I can trust you 

to read this as a condolence.

I came over for a sleepover, years ago, my first,

 though I was afraid of cats and you had two. 

Half-dreaming on your parents’ leather couch, 

I woke in the night to find your sweet old she-cat 

crouched on my ribs, purring, gold eyes floating in the dark.

I can’t help but think of that every time I love something new, 

and I just thought you should know— 

Not a day goes by where I don’t wish I’d said thank you 

back when it still made sense.


Phoebe Cragon is a student pursuing a degree in English with a focus on creative writing at Centenary College of Louisiana, where she is Senior Literary Editor of Pandora Magazine. 


image: MM Kaufman