by silvershoes   Feb 10, 2016

You walked too close to the fire, orange boy,
but I loved the smell of smoke on your warm fur.

Russets, dirt, dust, and roasting barley.

You were the look and scent of earth and sweat-
blood, oats, and fallen leaves.

I picked you up thousands of times just to
bury my face in your tiny, sweet body,
tell you I love you,
and breathe you deeply in.

I watched you walk too close to the fire,
but I swore that I could keep you safe.

I let the smoke fill my lungs and my heart,
which grew two sizes when I met you.

You walked too close to the fire, orange boy.
Now I hate the smell of smoke.

It's the stench of burning tires that could not stop.
It's the layer of fog that blinded your path.
It's memories burning every day without you.

You walked too close to the fire, orange boy.
I smelled the smoke on your cold, soft fur
before I laid you in your grave.


Did You Like This Poem?

Latest Comments

  • 2 years ago

    by Maple Tree

    Judging comment

    You took a painful loss and added your talent within this poem, creating a gem.

    This poem is so packed with detail I can smell, and feel this piece.

    All readers I am sure sheds tears over this poem and or feels the depths of pan within this poem. Powerful piece!!

  • 2 years ago

    by Larry Chamberlin

    Jane, this is even more touching than All I Want. It is said cats are fireproof. If only it were so, especially since they burn such a permanent mark in our souls.

  • 2 years ago

    by Poetess

    I don't blame you at all. Reading that actually made me cry. The hardest part is definitely the guilt, for me. I had two small dogs escape my backyard (both incidents several years apart). One was stolen, or at least I feel like she was because every single one of the fliers I put up were all taken down except for the plastic covers I stapled them in. Years later I'd still look around the streets whenever we drove by the neighborhood just hoping I'd see her. The other one, unfortunately was attacked by a much bigger dog. Someone found her in their yard and called us. She was so tiny, though, her back legs and her hips had been shattered and she never made it out of the shock. But still they escaped the same way, some tiny unseen hole through a fence. I always think I should have checked on them 5 minutes sooner and they'd still be here, or I should have stayed outside with them like I usually did.

    My brother's pit bull loved both of them, too. He was depressed on both of those occasions. It was the saddest thing.

    I could tell you that it wasn't your fault, but I know how hard it is to get over it. No pet could never be replaced, but it does get a little better with time. <3

  • 2 years ago

    by Narph

    I know there's a lot of emotion in this piece, and I think you've done a great job, but can I just for a second compliment you on your ability to structure a poem so so well? hugs to you

  • 2 years ago

    by Poetess

    I've read this quite a few times and every time it just gives me this sinking feeling. It's hard to lose our little furry babies. Makes one wonder if something could have been done different to prevent anything from happening. At least, personally for me... I always wonder things like this.

    Anyway, truly heart breaking write. Thank you for sharing with us.

    • 2 years ago

      by silvershoes

      Yes, I replay everything that happened leading up to Milo's death every day in my head. My boyfriend and I were driving 4 hours back to our home in Tahoe and I made the call to leave our cats (Milo & Rudy) in Piedmont with my parents. We were coming back in 4-5 days anyway and Milo gets sick in the car (throwing up & diarrhea). The cats love my parents' house because they get to go in and out as they please. It was my call to leave them. I hugged Milo goodbye in the front yard and kissed him all over his body. I told him, "You be safe, I love you, you're the love of my life," and then I got in the car and we drove away. I watched him hop on his older brother's back to play as we turned the corner. I felt like nothing could go wrong. That's the last time I saw him or talked to him. The next night, he wandered too far from our house and was hit by a car and killed. He was not even 2.5 years old. My dad didn't call to tell me that night. He waited until the morning, and when the phone rang, I knew. It's like someone whispered in my ear that what my dad was calling about would cause the world around me to come crashing to the ground. I said to my boyfriend, "Something isn't right. It's the cats." I picked up the phone and said, "Dad," and he said, "Jane," and I asked him, "Are my cats ok?" He said, "No, Jane, there is no easy way to say this. Milo was hit by a car." I asked, "Is he dead?" He said, "Yes." We cried on the phone together for awhile. I could hear my mom crying in the background. My boyfriend cried too and we held each other.

      For the next few days, I tried bargaining with God to let me die instead. I loved and love that cat so damn much. We drove back the day of the call and buried him in the garden. I kissed his tiny, lifeless body before we laid him in the ground. It was the hardest thing I've ever done.

      I made the call to leave them. My boyfriend said we should take them because I cry when I miss Milo, but I said no. I thought it was the right call. Better for him, I thought. That'll haunt me forever. I wish I could hug Milo again and tell him how sorry I am. It was my job to protect him and I failed. It was the most important job. Losing him feels like someone ripped out my heart. I blame myself.

      So much guilt and regret. My poor Rudy has been struggling too. Sometimes he's inconsolable. He loved his baby brother with all of his big kitty heart. I just keep telling him I'm sorry.

      EDIT: That's probably waaaaaay more than you were hoping to receive as a response from me. I got lost in my thoughts there and couldn't stop typing.

More Poems By silvershoes