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[24] F o r the C at A nth o ny What better time to happen than the spring? Who is my mother? Who is my father? Our cat, part Manx, his tail cut short by God, was killed by a car in front of our house. Anthony was three, never gelded, named by my son without knowing what it meant to me, this son so fond of animals, so in tune with spring and innocence, I could not tell him Anthony was a bad choice, the only name of my father— boozer, short-fused trucker too poor for a car. That he’d sit at table, tense as a lion’s tail batting air, and I’d wait for the tail to suddenly stop, his fist flying out at one son or another. I often dream of losing my car. I have no happy memories of the spring. Always lilacs turning brown and the breath of my father stopped now, and no he was never an Anthony to my mother, but a Tony, and no Anthony either of Padua, greeting a guest, so the tale goes, with the infant Jesus on his arm. My father dead, the last night of the wake his eldest son hushed my howl and it wasn’t spring but December and there was snow on the car. I remember sitting quietly in the car thinking blue horse thoughts of Anthony who’d been so cruel and hard to love in spring or any season. What stifled him like a stubby tail? Our cat was buried in the garden while my son said requiem prayers to his father [25] in heaven. I screamed the night my father died, waking my aunts sleeping over. When the car hit the cat, the driver apologized to my son and all night I cried, I thought, for Anthony to come back, to purr and stretch again, tail a twitch of fur. I’m not prepared, ever, for spring. So many years with a spring without my father, I finally tell my son what’s in a name, the tale of Anthony not hit by a car. ...


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MARC Record
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