Talking Euthanasia Blues by John Grochalski

the vet says,
blood pressure pills
and i tell him
no, but i don’t think you understand
she’s seventeen years old
deaf, blind, senile
she walks around the apartment
in the same goddamned circles
yowling as if she were being beaten
and the vet shakes his head in that kind vet way
i tell him look, man, she’s eating like a horse
and she still dropped two ounces from the last time
she shit outside the box three times this week
do you know what it’s like
to have to clean cat shit off your bare feet
at three in the goddamned morning?
i can’t stand all of the meowing
she meowed for two and a half hours this morning
i couldn’t get any writing done
not the poems, not the novel
just meow! meow! meow! meow!
my wife caught her yowling at two in the morning, man
besides, those thyroid pills aren’t even working
like you said they would
we shove them down her throat twice a day
and it’s still meow! meow! meow! meow!
until i’m ready to toss the animal in the estuary
we’re going to get thrown out of our fucking place
if this shit keeps up
the vet nods at me, nods at my wife
we look down at the cat
and she’s sitting there like none of this is true
like i’m some sort of selfish prick
who wants to end her life on some sick whim
instead of regaining some peace of mind
something has got to change, i say
we can’t live like this
it’s nonstop, it’s like madhouse in our home
a madhouse of crying and shit
and circling around and smacking into things
every day i come home from work
and hope the cat is dead
two nights ago i almost tripped over the beast
and did a header in the hallway
i almost cracked my head and landed in her shit
what kind of life is this for her now? i ask the vet
what kind of life is this for us?
haven’t we given this cat a good life?
but the vet doesn’t answer
he turns his sad, empathetic eyes to his charts
scrawls something and reads for awhile
looks at his expensive watch
then he looks from me to my wife to the cat
says again, let’s try her on some blood pressure pills
as if he hadn’t heard a word that i’d said
and i knew there was no mercy for that animal
for us
for the smallest living creature in his service
that misery and longevity have a hard price to be paid
and we’d be shoving more pills
down her throat for sure
and it would be meow! meow! meow! meow!
until i cracked
and headed for the estuary myself.


John Grochalski is the author of The Noose Doesn’t Get Any Looser After You Punch Out (Six Gallery Press 2008), Glass City (Low Ghost Press, 2010), In The Year of Everything Dying (Camel Saloon, 2012), Starting with the Last Name Grochalski (Coleridge Street Books, 2014), and the novel, The Librarian (Six Gallery Press 2013). Grochalski currently lives in Brooklyn, New York, in the section that doesn’t have the bike sharing program.


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