WOEM

My fancy other grandma, who was never one for animals
and resolutely mis-called our cat Frisky or Frisco, not Frito,
at least once told my mother that we should get a new cat
instead of moving with our old one. I know it because
my mother told me this tale about her mother-in-law,
whom she did not hate, but toward whom she always felt
at least a bit of tension, remove. Oh, well. I was told.
Frito in her ancient (from the ’60s) wood and wire carrier,
saying WOEM—her distress call—or on a leash made of
clothesline, prowling my lap and looking out the window,
WOEM, and in the motel room, under a bed or else on it.
They were never mistakes, those moves. Cats are travelers,
despite what many people think. Only the last, short move
was a bad one, maybe, but we didn’t know until it was done.
She was, by then, like one of my mother’s hibiscus plants,
at home in our sunny Dayton living room, but in Columbus,
only darkness and fruitless seeking. Only WOEM, in that
last house.

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Today’s Poem a Day Chapbook Challenge prompt was “travel.”

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