Mary Bass


Letter To My Love

     Looking out the window onto the patio, I remember all the meals we had there; all the seasons we enjoyed. Then living with the warmth and the cold, then nothing but cold whether we were within or without. The without grew and grew.

     The other day, I saw someone's cat sitting in the sun, in the middle of the patio table. The way she moved, turning her head back and forth, stretched, and shrugged, all reminded me of you. Even the elongated way of shifting until she was sure she'd created the best position for her nap.

     Days later, something on the fence caught my eye. The cat. She was hanging, like all the stuffing had come out of her, fence point lodged in her belly.

     I felt the most awful sense of dread. How could she stand it?

     All day, each time I passed the window, I'd see her in the same position. I felt sick. I paced back and forth, chewing my nails, as I used to do in waiting for you, until I learned better.

     What to do? Poke it and see if it roused? Creep close and clap my hands?

     Sensible or not, sleep visited me little. I walked back and forth to the window even though I could see nothing through the dark. I looked anyway. Like I used to search for you. I could do nothing and the body would rot on my fence. The idea made my stomach lurch and my skin crawl.

     Then an almost non-related thought surfaced: She was not my responsibility, but the fence was. You used to speak thoughts like these. Thoughts that circled around everything, especially around me.

     Did you leave your circles behind for me to fall into?