Putting Down the Cat

(1998)

"Putting Down the Cat" is the fifth song of Tom Cipullo's song cycle Another Reason Why I Don't Keep a Gun in the House. The song cycle sets six poems of Billy Collins.

Putting Down the Cat
by Billy Collins


The assistant holds her on the table,
The fur hanging limp from her tiny skeleton,
And the veterinarian raises the needle of fluid
Which will put the line through her ninth life.

“Painless,” he reassures me, “like counting
backwards from a hundred,” but I want to tell him
that our poor cat cannot count at all,
much less backwards, much less to a hundred.


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