Who Drew Cats


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Keep in mind there were three daughters,
One graceful and pretty, one fierce and
gallant, one sickly but clever
(that was me).

The eldest was away at school.
The youngest one got sick.
The middle one drew cats like the boy
in the story—wait, let me tell it.
I was four years old.

The doctor said it was my kidneys,
I should drink water.
Get as much water down her as you can.
My mother's stern expression
and her voice,
I thought she was angry then;
I am a mother now and I understand.
I woke up screaming,
the goblin rats had come.

I could see their heads bobbing
as they ran, rats
in bright delirium colors with predator
eyes. I felt like falling.
I pushed my covers away,
the room too empty and large.

My sister, the middle one
who was fierce,
sat down with a big green plastic cup.
If you drink it all,
I will tell you a story.

And so she did, a tale
for every glass.
I liked cats. She drew Charlie, black
with white jabot and paws.
Charlie on the wall

killed the goblin rat,
his mouth all red.
I drank all the water
in the big green cup,
paid for each story,
slept curled up under covers.

Now we three storytelling sisters
dip water from a well,
give to our children:
I will tell you a story
as you drink it down.

2

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