Updated: May 4
My sweet cat Luna
has snuffled, and sneezed,
eyes dripping, nose running
since she was born
with eye herpes.
The virus is always with her,
an underlying condition
but not a threat
to her life.
Now herpes has erupted
as a sinister thug.
An ulcer in her left eye
has blurred her vision,
her pupil no longer visible.
Wrapping her in a towel
I lift her sweet, soft face to mine,
open her left eye,
squeeze in the drops nine times a day.
Anxiety medication is keeping her calm.
Her underlying condition needs treatment.
So does mine.
The condition of paralyzing fear.
Of thinking there is a right way, and wrong way to live.
Of feeling overwhelmed by tasks,
small and large.
Keeping me from the work of life.
Perhaps my love for Luna
is my medicine for now.
Feeling the heartbreak of her suffering,
of knowing that she will someday die
compels me to take her to the vet,
again and again.
And when I think it’s too hard,
and feel overwrought with emotion,
her need for me to be a good caregiver
takes me out of myself,
out of my misguided ideas,
and turns my attention toward her care.
To actively loving her,
to the preciousness of her life,
to our lives together.
The escalation of Luna’s underlying condition
at least for the moment,
underlying conditions that
for too many years
have kept me from living
my own life.