checking out

The sales assistant had a cat
who died last month of a heart attack
only nine years old but a pedigree
with a heart condition apparently
‘I won’t be getting another,’ she said
‘It’s just too hard when they drop down dead’

I paid for the jeans and sympathised
we’d had one or two pets who’d died
Kasha came free with a second hand chair
the chair long gone but the cat still there
‘It’s the price you pay for loving someone
one minute here the next minute gone’

‘I suppose it teaches my kids about death’
she said, ‘my parents aren’t in the best of health;
‘Do you want to sign up for our newsletter, love?
it qualifies you for ten percent off?’
I typed my email onto the screen;
she opened a bag and put in my jeans

‘I had to take a day off work
to even remotely get over the hurt
I felt so desperate, utterly stressed
my eyes all bloodshot my skin a mess
I wore dark glasses, my hair in plaits
and I said don’t none of you mention cats.’

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