Rosemary J. Gwaltney
northern mountains, Idaho
“Mom, guess what I had to do today
at work?” I turned to her with mild curiosity -
for she brings home a new animal loving story, bubbling
every day. But this day was terribly different. No sparkle. Just deep
sorrow. My interest intensified keenly, my love melting for her.
~ ~ ~
“I had to put down two rabbits and three ferrets
by myself, in the bathroom, because the main boss wasn’t there,
and no one else would, even the other boss, when they were dropped
off at the door, abused and dying. We sent pictures of them by
fax to the boss, and she asked me to do it on the phone. One
rabbit had a broken jaw, all five were caked with feces,
starved, and dying. Their bones were poking out;
they couldn’t even stand up. Their eyes
I just couldn’t let them suffer.
But no one would even help me. I didn’t
let the ferrets watch, because they understand.”
~ ~ ~
Tears stood shimmering in her eyes.
She was only taught how,
three days before.
~ ~ ~
I gazed at my blue-eyed daughter with new vision.
Seventeen, with so much grace; so much
care in her sweet face. So much
strength. Working at a
shelter is not
~ ~ ~
All I could do
was hold her tight, and
tell her how proud of her I was.
How proud that she could tenderly use that
needle all alone in the bathroom, to relieve the anguish
of the animals. I did not know how to tell her that
in my eyes, she had just become a woman,
and would never be a child again.
But I know she felt it;
And I believe
...Living is ever like crossing rivers; finding a new life on each shore ... RJG