for C D Finley
When we learned it was a son,
that swimmer grinding his heels
against my uterine wall, perfecting
flip turns in a kiddie pool, I,
who loved our cat, who insisted
we keep him even when a black light
revealed the Pollock he had pissed
in the basement, who paid a bundle
to untangle his bowel; I, who never
left town without penning a treatise
on his care and could see a smear
of tom in the street and weep
for the resemblance only—
learned it was a son, I asked if one
could name her boy for a cat. No,
my husband said. So I asked if one
could name her boy for a dead cat.
Of course it was a joke, this betrayal
so wicked and quick that I cried.
It was also how I turned into a mother.