Friday, August 21, 2009

Purrs for Puz

Today I witnessed a profound ceremony – a gathering designed to give a terminally ill cat named Puz courage for her final journey across the rainbow bridge. The ceremony was not held in a veterinary clinic or in a backyard. It was held on Twitter.

For those of you who haven’t had the opportunity to meet the anipals, they are real pets who tweet on twitter. Sure, their human parents have to type the words, but the pets’ sentiments are spoken, their personalities are genuine. On twitter, dogs and cats, rabbits and turtles get along just fine. They hold virtual parties using hash tags like #pawpawty. I first met Puz at such a party – one held in his honor after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer. The party was a celebration of Puz’s life and an expression of camaraderie.

As Puz’s cancer progressed, his family made an appointment for him to be euthanized. The anipals responded by planning another celebration – one that would see Puz and his family through the dark and frightening moments as they waited for his final passage. The celebration began yesterday using the hashtag #puztruck. Anipals from all over the world boarded the #puztruck and partied as they traveled to be with Puz in his final moments. Last night the hashtag changed to #puzpram as PepiSmartDog led the parade of anipals keeping their friend company as the time drew near. They sang Puz’s favorite songs, including “Born Free” and “My Way”. And then the animals formed a #pawcircle and sent #purrs4puz out into cyberspace to serenade him on his journey and comfort his family. After the injection was given, the countdown began and the anipals spoke of others who had passed and who were reaching out to Puz across the bridge, coaxing him to join them. At last, the anipals sent Puz off with love to his new pain-free life.

Tears ran down my face as I read the tweets, tears of sadness, but also of joy that we live in a world where people from every continent care enough to take time out of their busy lives to let their pets help give a cat they’ve only met in cyberspace a peaceful passage.

RIP, Puz. I barely knew you, but you left an indelible paw print on my heart.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Moments with Dad

Moments with Dad
by Rachelle Reese

Listening to your low, steady voice read Poe by kerosene lamplight,
I watched the shadows battle on the walls of the tent
and felt safe from any monster words could summon.

Sitting in a row boat, I watched as you held the caught duck in your arms,
removed the hook from its beak and let it fly.
I knew then you valued freedom more than gold.

Sailing in the bay, you trusted me to take the rudder while you slept.
But when the winds whipped against the sails and I struggled,
you awoke to guide us back to safer waters.

Standing shoulder to shoulder at the kitchen counter,
we shared fresh Ahi tuna with wasabi sauce
and talked of nothing much, but knew each other's love.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Secret

The Secret
by Rachelle Reese

You struggle to rise from my office floor
where you were dropped hard and damp
by the tailwind of a thunderstorm.
The four unseeing eyes on your pale green wings
plead for mercy as if they understand the futility of fluttering.
I lift you on a sheet of printer paper,
set you gently on an outdoor table holding herbs in pots.
You prop yourself carefully against a pot of mint
to show me the blue-green eggs that weigh you down.

The sunlight dries your wings and you lift yourself,
wings crossed in a ballerina fairy's pirouette.
Your seeing eyes peer out from beneath your bang
and you smile as if you know I know your secret.

About the poem: In the world of our upcoming book Dime Store Novel, Toledo Cats and Swampy can talk to fairies and goblins and even pass into the fairy realm. The fairies in the book were not inspired by fantasy, but by birds, butterflies, and moths. Dime Store Novel is due out in late 2009. However, we preview the world of Dime Store Novel in Mind of a Mad Man by presenting "From the Gator's Mouth" and "The Baptism". To learn more about Mind of a Mad Man, visit

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Sasser's Reward

I left you with only a quick kiss, never dreaming it was the last time
your failing eyes would see me smile.
I believed I had saved you once more,
bought another week, or month, or year to hold you close and listen to your heart
I know your life had become less vibrant than it had been
before the years crept up and stole your strength
Some days you peed yourself, got lost in corners, barely ate
But even on the bad days, you curled beside me and tipped
your gray beard up to lick my face.

And so you waited, not able to free your soul from your failing body
until my arms were no longer wrapped around you.
"A whimper," your Daddy said. "He told me it was time with a whimper."
So it was your Daddy who sat with you and stroked you gently
as your soul slowly separated from the body that had been through so much pain.
"Tell Mama I had a good life and I love her."
You spoke the words clearly, in a species-neutral language every soul can understand.
And then you left us to join your friends who'd already made the journey
to wait until the day your Daddy and I finish our work here and join you.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Lessons from My Mother
by Rachelle Reese

You taught me to find magic
in the white narcissus growing
miraculously from marbles
and a puddle of water in a glass bowl.

You taught me to see beauty
in the brilliance of roses
and the tiny hummingbird
hovering close to sip the nectar.

You taught me to hear music
in the cadence of words,
read lovingly aloud from the
well-thumbed pages of storybooks.

You taught me to know love
as a caress, soft as cashmere,
as a pillow when life is hard,
and as a bond, resilient as steel.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Dogwoods

The Dogwoods
by Rachelle Reese

A flurry of blossoms
stagger through the winter bare oaks
dogwood white, harbinger of green
petals glow luminous salmon orange and violet
as the sun sets one last time
before the oak leaves open
and engulf the dogwood pearls
in an emerald tidal wave

Monday, April 20, 2009

Eternal Pride

Eternal Pride
by Rachelle Reese
Proudly you parade your newborn child
past the grave of the man who raised your mother from a calf.
You never knew him, having entered the world nearly
one year after he was buried in the field he cleared by hand.
But somehow you seem to know that your firstborn calf is strong because of him,
so you turn your head toward his rocky mound and give him thanks.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Ode to the Daffodil Planter

Ode to the Daffodil Planter
by Rachelle Reese

Nearly a century has passed
since you kneeled in the mud,
skirt draped loosely across your ankles
to plant six daffodil bulbs,
bought dearly with the blackberry preserves
you sealed on an outdoor fire.
Could you have known the joy
those sunny flowers would inspire
in two accidental passersby?