The dog refuses to eat. I keep filling her bowl
anyway: new kibble on top of old, hoping
that it will suddenly becoming tempting.
When I write, the cat watches me from a chair.
When I look at him, he purrs loudly, leans forward
so that I might touch him. I don’t.
Now the dog refuses to come out of her cage,
no matter what I say, no matter how wide I open
the door. She knows that I am not her master.
On the couch, the cat crawls on top of me
and loves me so hard, his claws draw blood.
I am so lonely, I do nothing to stop it.
There are lights in this house I want to turn on,
but I can’t find their switches. Outside, an engine
turns and turns in the night, but never catches.
Copyright © 2013 by Cristin O’Keefe Aptowicz. “Things That Happened During Petsitting That I Remind Myself Are Not Metaphors for My Heart” originally appeared in The Year of No Mistakes (Write Bloody Publishing, 2013). Used with permission of the author.