I left my cat for two weeks.
The sitter arrived sometimes,
or not as more time told, distracted
by these tempting strokes: a rock
band, his flame-haired girl,
three days on the road, smokes.
Thus abandoned, my furry
lap-muff, my plump breast-pillow,
bereft of hope for special spooning,
whiff of armpit, kneaded inner arm,
looked long, then walked away
from water bowl and food.
His eyes, his skin, his bones
all spoke on my return:
I hungered for your presence,
Je meurs de soif auprès de la fontaine.*
*According to Mona Van Duyn, in Firefall, the Duc d'Orleans held a contest for poets in the 15th century where each was to use the line "I die of thirst here at the fountain-side."