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I’d say the last few days have been difficult at best. Our tiny female kitten Tilly (here) was taken critically ill at the end of last week. She crashed on Saturday morning, spotted by an alert nurse. Two vets revived her.

Her body is destroying her own red blood cells. We don’t know why yet, and can’t find out until she is stronger. It’s either long-term curable — or not. She’s on IV steroids, antibiotics, and fluids. She was sitting up and eating yesterday, though the vets have decided not to take bloods and risk the stress crashing her again. 

So we wait. Today we will bring her prawns.

Her brother wanders around looking confused, crying for attention. He licks us when we stroke him. 

E asks questions, and we answer them. He’s sad at night. M’s eyes fill with tears, and roll down her face, dripping onto her book — which she is never without at the moment. 

We moved through the weekend as a unit, doing almost everything together, not even wanting to be in separate rooms. When we visited Tilly though, it was clear she is getting the very best care possible: swaddled in a blanket, with a little teddy tucked up next to her. The whiteboard there reads: Tilly, anaemic ++++, jaundiced. Very nice cat. And on the notes, at the end of Saturday, written by one of the nurses: love her.

Fruition in Stereo — Manistee Lighthouse

I’m waiting on a baby. Several, really — but only one actual one. Most are metaphorical: the kitchen (how many people couldn’t have seen that coming); end of term writing portfolios from gung-ho students; Laureate activities. And a few are just plain wishful thinking: a clean and orderly house, a linen basket you can put the top on, a sense of completion in general.

Completion. Maybe I should have called this post that. Like with my prose poems, I almost always title posts before I write them. It gives me a space to go into. Maybe.

Back to babies. Three manuscripts on the go at once. Little done with them in two months. Enduring a familiar ennui. In suspended gestation.


Now back to the real one, the actual star of the show: my good friend Helena is expecting, overdue in fact. For some reason I find I’m almost waiting by the phone, double-checking for texts. I had lunch with her last week, and her house was at the peak of preparation: nappies set up, little folded all-in-ones, Moses basket, cot, and pram by the door.

Sigh. How the first child razes everything, then builds it all back the same but different. Things are so empty before the baby arrives, and you don’t even know it. It’s impossible to imagine how full life can be.

Stay tuned….


From January 2010, my new blog is Waving and Drowning


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Who am I?

A writer born in Texas, who grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia (yes, like the song), and who's been living in the UK since 1988. I've published two books (see below), and teach creative writing at the University of Kent. I'm married to a composer, and we have two young children. See About for my full profile.