The Kittens

For Sanaa’s Get Listed at Real Toads. The four words I chose were lucid, touch, sleep, gravel. This is also being posted on dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night.

The Kittens
it was a clear and chilly morning.
The gravel crunched beneath my feet
as I walked back from getting our newspaper
from the foot of the drive.
The chill snatched the sleep from my eyes
and the frost sparkled on the grass.
The morning was like a lucid dream
and I bent down to touch a blade of grass –
the frost melting beneath my fingers.
I put the paper on top of some boxes in our garage.
Something caught my eye.
I looked behind the boxes and saw a nest of newborn kittens,
huddled close and tight for warmth
And then I noticed the maggots
crawling on their beautiful fur.
My mind warp sped to the body of a cat
I had seen in the road a few days earlier.
The kittens were stiff in death –
Orange, tabby, black, and calico
all together in a nest of death.
I began to weep in grief.
The morning turned to nightmare
as I grabbed a shovel and walked
to the edge of the woods to bury them.
When I was through
I sat on the back steps and thought
of how the death of wild kittens
could hurt so damn much.

46 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Björn Rudberg (brudberg)
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 15:07:44

    The world is cruel against feral cats and kittens, the contrast between the beautiful morning and finding the dead kittens … the maggot and the details is very good.


  2. sanaarizvi
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 15:13:08

    This is so poignant. I loved the way you paint the morning as “a lucid dream” and could picture the soft and elaborate details. The part where the kittens were “stiff in death” at the end broke my heart 😦 Thank you so much for writing to the prompt ❤️


    • kanzensakura
      Oct 18, 2018 @ 15:15:42

      Thank you for commenting on my poem. Other prompters have not been so kind or prompt. It is most appreciated.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10



  3. Frank Hubeny
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 15:21:50

    Beautiful description of those wild kittens.


  4. annell4
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 15:42:44

    What a sad event to happen, on a cold, clear, chilly morning. Sometimes what cuts deeply is so unexpected.


  5. Jane Dougherty
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 15:52:55

    It’s hard to see any baby die. Your recounting of the frozen scene is so sensitive


  6. suzykopliku
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 16:25:25

    So sad. The world can be so harsh, yet in the simple, compassionate act of witnessing and weeping over that harshness there is a hope and a light. A beautiful and moving poem.


  7. anmol(alias HA)
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 16:34:22

    Oh, the contrast of a rather scenic morning with the bitter death of those kittens works so well here — the buildup is smooth and the calamity is hurtful in its swift description.
    Stark imagery and powerful writing, Toni!


    • kanzensakura
      Oct 18, 2018 @ 16:41:30

      Thank you Anmol. I have been carrying around this poem for a year waiting to give birth to it. I still see those kittens in my mind

      Get Outlook for Android



  8. Grace
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 17:21:58

    How hard and awful to have seen them dead cold. And what a nightmare to bury them. A very chilling story to share Toni.


  9. Frank J. Tassone
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 20:17:47

    A heartbreaking story, so vividly told, Toni!


  10. Gospel Isosceles
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 21:21:05

    Those last lines bring hope.
    “of how the death of wild kittens
    could hurt so damn much.”
    I mean, imagine if you were one who saw those tiny kittens enshrouded in death…and felt nothing.


  11. short-prose-fiction
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 22:37:48

    sad and beautiful at the same time!


  12. Vicki
    Oct 18, 2018 @ 23:30:30

    Bless their hearts and yours for caring so much.


  13. peterfrankiswrites
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 00:57:53

    Like others, a sad piece beautifully evoked in plain language.


  14. Kathy Reed
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 03:03:13

    Oh, such a stark reminder of how precious life is for all creatures. I hope writing this was cathartic. Who know what might have happened to them if you had not taken on their peaceful burial.


  15. kim881
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 08:29:06

    How sad, Toni! You’ve set the scene so effectively that I was walking on the grave, feeling the chill in the air and enjoying the sparkling of the frost, so that when the tone changed with ‘Something caught my eye’ I wasn’t prepared for the maggots and the orphaned kittens ‘stiff in death’. It choked me up.


  16. Janice
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 10:07:34

    A heartbreaking experience told so well. Your closing question is perfect. We often question our own grief and pain…


  17. jazzytower
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 10:26:35

    Whew…this got me. I need tissues. So very vivid. Nice work.



  18. Charmed Chaos
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 10:36:45

    Heartbreaking Toni.


  19. Vivian Zems
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 16:19:01

    Death is always sad and shocking- no master what or who. You penned it well.


  20. memadtwo
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 16:22:39

    This chills the heart. (K)


  21. V.J. Knutson
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 17:00:30

    Heartwrenching – the kind of image that never leaves you.


  22. Dorianna Ric (paint-it-poetry)
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 17:13:22

    Death to any living creature is painful, more so to the innocent babes. Your poem made me cry and I felt your pain in the discovery of the poor kittens and their suffering in the freezing cold as they wasted away…yes such cruelity is painful much.


  23. mhmp77
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 19:15:14


    I sat on the back steps and thought
    of how the death of wild kittens
    could hurt so damn much

    A little happening that tugs at the emotional strings. A sad ending to what could have been a life of fun and pleasure kitten style. A noble act to accord them a decent burial, Toni!



  24. Lona Gynt
    Oct 19, 2018 @ 23:59:18

    Meow 😔


  25. Margaret Elizabeth Bednar
    Oct 20, 2018 @ 02:01:15

    I went from all woozy with sweetness to horror. So sad. I had a batch of kittens born in our garage one stormy rainy fall night. Our garage door wouldn’t close and a mother cat found her refuge in our baby stroller. 3 kittens and we kept one. Of course. Mommy and the other two found homes.


  26. Jim
    Oct 20, 2018 @ 06:14:23

    Sad but it happens. Perfect betrayal, Toni.


  27. Kerry
    Oct 20, 2018 @ 07:31:33

    A sad scenario which reminds how fragile life is.


  28. coalblack
    Oct 20, 2018 @ 10:15:19

    But it can, because they are innocent. I can’t stand to see any animal suffer.


  29. Sherry Blue sky
    Oct 20, 2018 @ 23:08:38

    So sad, those little lives that never had a chance.


  30. lynn__
    Oct 21, 2018 @ 14:28:53

    Awww…poor little things! We just gave away a litter of weaned kittens to a vet’s family as our old barn is too cold for them to winter.


  31. Imelda
    Oct 25, 2018 @ 00:00:20

    ow. poor kittens. So sad,


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