She went out with a growl and a spit;
not grumpiness, you understand,
but arthritic pain in her joints.
She'd been fading for the last few weeks,
great weight loss, her fur no longer plush;
but it was her eyes, they looked haunted,
not fear of death but fear of life itself;
the long day-to-day endurance.
We laid her in a bed of autumn leaves,
under the hedge, below the smoke bush
flaming its defiance into the sky.
The house still resonates with her presence:
her curled sleeping shape
her daily dash down the hall
her deep-throated purr.