by Nonnie Augustine

Tender veterinarian, even if you weren't so tall, or your eyes so warm, or your fingers so long, or if you didn't bend over my sick cat with such astounding grace, or shoot those quick, intense glances at me, I'd have woven dreams while in your uncommon presence. Vulnerable as I was, (a cat who wouldn't eat, not even treats, wondering if I'd broken rules, let her down, abused her faith in me,) you did not press, scold, or condescend.  

Do you have affairs, I wonder? Don't women invite you home to help care for their sick cat, dog, or neglected selves? Or, like me, do they pay, leave, go home to plot should have taken failure- proof steps toward splendid union with your kind, powerful, animal saving soul? Do you know you have me, all of us, wishing to be petted? 

When you handled sad Tulie the way you did, enveloping her in your broad palms, holding her next to your chest, did you hear me sigh? Did I give you that, at least?