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Emma survived on the streets of L.A. before we found one another. She was due to be euthanized the next day as she suffered allergies, little hair, no teeth and looked pretty bad. I saw her straight, clear, open and willing eyes. Miraculously undefended. They reminded me of my own. We are rescuing each other. Every day. Every minute.
** Photo credit: my beloved friend Jann Tennenbaum



In the early morning
A ruckus of younguns’
Disturbed the peace.
And guttural.
Slightly alarming
Was their wail.
“The mother should come.”
Where were the caretakers
Supposedly taking care
Of these wee wanton ones?
I felt my stomach muscles
Grip imaginary hunger
Quite sure
The seeming vacuum
Would not be sated.
Or ever.
The recalcitrant
Screamed on.
They were too new.
Too raw
And helpless
For the natural pitch
Of alarm
They cast to the dawn
In case the airs
Beyond the heat of their own
Held a savior.
They annihilated the atmosphere
Out there
Beyond my control.
I was un- nerved
And slightly sickened
By the refusal
Of parental valium delivery
In the form of food.
Can’t you fucking shut them up?
I needed to nod off
Not feel responsible
To insure
The nourishment
Of others.
In my disturbed mind
I saw their yellowed beaks
In the taught nest
Built with adoration
By parents feathered
Yet slightly disheveled
From the chronic need
Of a brood
Full of need.

I was born in the 50’s
When leaving
A babe
In the crib while wailing
Was the accepted method
To teach
My stomach
And heart
Endless alarm.

This is why
I am a very poor
Alpha dog mom.

–Cathy Aten May 2016




One Response to “Hunger”

  1. Alexandra on May 15th, 2016

    Me, too, Cath, couldn’ let my babies cry for a minute. Would run to them at the first sign of discomfort !!

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