Literary Orphans

“Maureen Thinks About Her Daughter, Laura” and “Owning Her Death” by Marc Tretin


I bend over to change the gravelly litter

of the rabbit-headed cat that’s owned by my

daughter, and is my daughter, and is her bitter

view that she’s both hunter’s teeth and hunted’s bones.

I see the rabbit-headed cat claw its face.

It cannot eat all that’s snared in its paws.

Rabbit teeth cannot chew its flesh to meat.

Its cheeks. Bloody chunks. Why? Because. Just because.

I doubt my love could do any good, since

stroking soft bunny-kitten fur will not

change my daughter. My affection cannot convince

her to undo her predatory knot.

Laura, like predator or prey, stays unseen,

but the litter she leaves is pretty clean.


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On either side of my mother’s flatlined

monitor, two doctors were conferring

when her portable MRI whined

that her last neuron winked out. Preferring

her to be dead to the dying that took too long,

I felt stuck between relief and a shrug.

During her doctor’s condolence song,

I wondered, if when we pulled out her last plug,

was there a ritual of disconnection,

celebrating the blankness of her screen?

Having no belief in heaven or resurrection,

I was glad she could click, click her morphine

dispenser, while I spent days at her side.

She joked, “My next drug will be formaldehyde.”

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Marc Tretin is a retired lawyer who spends his days writing poetry when he is not walking his rambunctious cockapoo puppy. His book PINK MATTRESS  is available on Amazon.  He is currently studying at Spalding University for an MFA in poetry.

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–Art by Chelsea Sturgill