The pattern of the bathroom tile
resembles the blanket
you wrapped around your dollies
when they took ill.
Martha, your favorite, had chicken pox
until the red crayon spots you inflicted on her
flaked off and faded away.
You swaddled her tightly
and rocked her back and forth,
singing your hush-a-byes.
Her eyes frozen open.
Her plastic body
holding the heat of your folded arms.
You now understand
how you rehearsed your futility
from such an early age.
The cat can no longer stand.
She’s dying, the way old house cats do:
tongue paper dry, skin and fur
sagging from the bone.
She’s chosen to curl up
next to the cool porcelain toilet base.
You bring her canned tuna
and a water dish
and swaddle her in your bathrobe.
Her paws no longer holding heat
in your folded arms.