The Cat Vet

for Dr. Bebko

A cat is only a cat,
and, yes, there are women
sleeping under bridges,
children beaten,
acts too horrible to voice
by those of us
endowed with words.

Yet if a cat,
who is only a cat,
is your cat
(and perhaps that cat
is the only entity
who notices you
as more than a passing stranger:
a buyer of groceries,
a shape on a bus),
if that cat loves you
(if we are allowed to say
that an animal is capable of love),
then may you find a vet
who would never think
"It's only a cat."

A vet whose hands have soothed,
injected, sutured, palpated
the torn and frail and anxious;
a vet who can't stop himself
worrying about cats.

A vet who is only a man —
fallible, weary, capable of anger —
but yet is the one man
into whose hands
I place, without hesitation,
the paws and tails and questioning ears
of my cats.

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