The pain started at dawn. Faint emissions
of effort cutting through the lightest sleep.
She would not rest – which mother would – and pace
at every now and then, claw at the floor
and wall of her abode until the sun
claimed and disowned the dark, showered its light.
As was her wont, she gave her head to me
to stroke, no longer moaning at my touch
but clawing still and pacing. She must’ve
tired, finally, and fell prostrate. To wait.
as I did. While I said my lauds that she,
her god, I begged, survive another date.
I didn’t see her first, it was abrupt.
Milky was. And I was done. So had time
to watch the next one, Mink. A cross between
milk and ink, her mother’s color. Who was
too sleepy. Very tired. I felt the same
watching. And left her in peace. Which was not
yet. For while we broke our fast, we heard shrieks
from Cecille and Merle. There’s another one!
Brown. Mocha was third. Alex proclaimed that
There’s one more coming. Like he knew. And did.
Like the second birth that was black and grey.
Mitch was more pitch. Like underscoring which
of the terrier-tinged twins was more like
their Mom. As she is wont, Inky lapped each
of the quads’ waste without haste. Gently.
As we smiled in praise. At the three-time bitch.
ABRAHAM M. DE LA TORRE