Penelope Scambly Schott: “Speaking of a Cat I Never Met”



—in memory of Patricia Fargnoli


In all the thirty years
that I knew Pat
I never sat at her kitchen table
nor she at mine.
We met for lunch at little inns
across state lines.

I didn’t really know her well.
Her son’s name?
Or her marriage troubles?
She had a cat.
She talked a lot about her cat.
He had a double name:

Rusty Griffin.
Rusty Griffin really mattered.
But it’s not the cat
I’ll never pet. It’s Pat herself,
that slight lift
and swell to her smile.

What I can keep now is the glow
of Pat’s poems,
a precise richness which will stay
and guide me home.


Penelope Scambly Schott is a past recipient of the Oregon Book Award for Poetry. Two recent books are On Dufur Hill, about her small (pop. 635) wheat-growing town, and Sophia and Mister Walt Whitman, co-written with her dog Sophia Schott Sweetdog.

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