navigation arrows previous unnamed angry woman next


Michael Channing

i knew something was wrong
when she wouldn't eat
all she did for days was sleep
she walked a crooked line
from the bedroom to the door
i couldn't pretend anymore

they said the cancer had been growing
in her stomach for a month
christ, how could i not know
if she felt the torture
of her body turning on her
cubby never let it show

how could anything so innocent
be treated this way
how could anything so small
be so brave

i couldn't hold her
as they put the needle in
that was asking too much
they brought her out to me in a cardboard box
it was raining all that morning
on the drive back home
the heater on but i couldn't stay warm

i dug into the damp earth
with my shaking bare hands
and put the cardboard coffin in the grave
i marked it with a flower
that grew outside the window
and a wooden cross my neighbor made

how could anything so innocent
be treated so wrong
how could anything so small
be so strong

how could anything so small be so strong

Liner Notes

I’ve done this twice, pulled up handfuls of earth and placed a dead, beloved cat into the ground. You start with a shovel, but you eventually have to use your hands. If you come away from it clean, it doesn't feel sincere. Both times I made the choice to euthanize my friend. Both times I held the cat till the last breath passed from its body. There's a Harlan Ellison story in which he does the same for his dog. You can't leave your pet to die with strangers. Such Joy and happiness they brought me. Annoyance, too, but all roommates do that. The least I could do was hold them after I chose to end their lives.

The sound of wind should wind through this song, like "Bridge of Sighs." Can I just get Robin Trower to write the music for my song?

The Smallest Among You

foolscap Home       Podcast       Essays       Poems       Songs       Videos       Stories       Images foolscap

Chokes and Warbles
Now Available

Chokes and Warbles, a collection of essays and poems by Michael Channing

September 21, 2018