This Thanksgiving my husband and I went to Atlanta

      to spend Thursday through Sunday

      with his very caring daughter

Jim and I had gotten up at 3:20 a.m. and were

      at the airport by 5

My new husband ( not so different

      from my other husband so many decades ago)

      likes to be prompt so being really early

      is not a problem for me

My husband had a free companion ticket for me

      and things were good on the plane

At the airport my husband stopped to buy

      his usual lottery ticket

      while his daughter patiently waited

When we got to her house, the turkey was

        still baking

Her son, her husband ,and my husband watched

        one of the football games on tv

When dinner was ready, I mentioned an old tradition

        from my family from years ago of going around the table

        and everyone saying something 

        each one was grateful for

Instead they said grace and crossed themselves and

        said they were grateful for the food

I said Amen with them  

I didn’t cross myself since

      I’m Jewish and my husband who converted 

      to Judaism when he married his second wife

      didn’t cross himself either


I thought how my son’s children were spending 

      Thanksgiving with their mother and  abuela

      whom they had lived with since their parents

      split  when they were in kindergarten and

      third grade

I thought of my older son and his children who

      spend every Thanksgiving with their 

      other grandmother, my daughter in law’s mother

I thought about my younger son alone on Thanksgiving

      and wondered if any of my grandchildren would phone  or

      email me today unlike last Thanksgiving


During dinner, we said how delicious the sausage 

      stuffing was that my step daughter’s husband had made
      from  a family recipe                   

We spoke how good the squash souffle’ my step daughter had made                                      

We commented on how much their fourteen year old son

        had grown since our last visit


I thought how happy my husband seemed to be with  his

        daughter and her family

And I thought to myself I should be grateful for this and 

        that my own grandchildren are having a traditional 

        Thanksgiving with at least one of their grandparents

And I love my grandchildren so much that just knowing they

         are happy is more than enough





The coldest day in February
I hear a mewing on our shared walkway
A cat leaps up the steps still mewing
and rubs its body against my legs

Black, blackest with startling green
eyes and bones sticking out of its 
famished body  


I am not a “cat person “
I am a “dog person”

I am allergic to cats which
may be why I’m a “dog person”

Still, I give the cat some of my dog’s food outside
My husband tells me this is a mistake
that I’ll never get rid of the cat

The cat sleeps on our doormat
Again, I feed it outside
The next day I bring it inside
worried  about roundworm it might have because 
of a bare circle around its tail

But I’m more worried the cat will freeze or starve to death 
I call the police in three neighboring towns
but no one has reported a lost pet
I put up signs Found Cat and my phone number
in my neighborhood
No one calls

This affectionate cat is obviously
an abandoned cat
I buy a litter box it immediately uses
I get advice from a friend who
used to rescue cats before she got sick
I take the cat to our dog’s vet
She does not have round worm but  gets tested for other diseases
I get her rabies shots and all the other necessary shots and vaccines

I find out she is a he
and a year and a half old
with no identity chip
The vet says he’s very friendly
and sweet ( which I know)
The vet  tells me the cat is extremely underweight
He does not have round worm
He is not cat hiv positive 
After the test results, they phone
and tell me he has an infectious disease
and needs medication for three weeks to clear it up
and I need to give that medicine
to my fourteen year old Bichon as well

I worry the cat will scratch
our dog’s spindle tumor
and have covers put on the cat’s claws

I’ve called Saint Hubert’s
but they say they’re filled
and aren’t taking cats now
I call two animal control places
but they can’t promise me
the cat won’t be euthanized
I feed the cat baby food chicken
and baby rice cereal for his diarrhea 

The cat sleeps on my placemat
on the dining room table.
He loves me to pet him
under his chin and behind his ears.
He is ravenous and constantly mews for food
and jumps on the kitchen counter 
if I go into the kitchen to try to prepare even breakfast
My husband, Bichon Nelly and I lock ourselves
in the bedroom at night
because of my cat allergies
The cat roams the rest of the apartment


I feed Nelly on the bed
so the cat won’t eat her food. 
At night the cat  sometimes runs
down to the basement
where I keep his food and litter box

He runs up and sleeps on my placemat
or outside our closed bedroom door
or just roams the tiny apartment
while we stay locked in our bedroom

In the middle of the night the cat starts mewing
and doesn’t stop until I come out 
take him on my lap and pet him 
He mews and I give him more food— 

The cortisone shot in my knee is wearing off
and I’m having trouble
bringing his food to the basement
as well as cleaning his litter box three times a day

The cat is now on cat food and I take him back
to the vet once he’s off the medicine for three weeks

The cat in four weeks has gone
from 5 pounds 1 ounce to 9 pounds 6 ounces  
He is no longer underweight

The cat is ready to be neutered
I have spent my monthly free lance
earnings on this cat
No one seems to want him at this moment
though I notice my husband seems fonder of him each day
as do I through my sneezes and itchy face



Where I go from here
      is not going to be too far
      since I just celebrated  a 
      birthday whose number says almost over

Where I go from here is maybe backward
      trying to find old friends who have disappeared,
      old third cousins, old classmates
      who on my forward moving years 
      years ago( and probably theirs too) lost touch
I wonder if they’re ok, if they’re still alive

It’s odd this having fewer years ahead
       where once the future spread 
       out like a long glowing road with 
       no near end—
Where once there were so many divergent paths
         with no near end—

 Where once there were so many divergent paths 

             I could have taken and sometimes did

Where once I stopped for years

             and focused on my kids— their future lives

             where they were going

I guess I’ll just try to call some old friends— 

             but with cell phones, no directory listings for

             them anymore—


I’ll hope their minds are still alert—

             that they have avoided the Alzheimer’s epidemic

             in our age group—

That they might say— I was thinking about you too


And maybe sooner  not later , I’ll pack up my journals

               so my grown kids and grandchildren so busy

               (and I’m glad they are )with their own lives

               might one day after I’m gone 

               pick up one of these journals 

               and discover who their mother and grandmother really was


 About the poet:

photo credit: bonbon robinson

Laura Boss is a first prize winner of PSA’s Gordon Barber Poetry Contest. She is a recipient of three NJSCA Fellowships. Founder and Editor of Lips, recent books include Arms: New and Selected Poems; Flashlight (both Guernica Editions); and The Best Lover (NYQ). A Dodge Poet, her poems have appeared in The New York Times.