She describes the procedure as standard.
It explains why he has been quiet. It’s quite
painful, she adds, but he’ll be fine afterwards.

I know this means they’ll invade his mouth with metal,
some hooks to pull his lips, cut gum and tooth
to extract each rotten fang. His tongue pressed down.

Cage to car journey, careful of the speed bumps,
to the comfiest cushion. We dose him up. Catnip.
Mint. Chicken and trout. The favourites.

It’s the first time I’ve seen him without an appetite.
And I have his face now, a few black stitches laced
around his mouth when he yawns.

The surgery added a few more years to his life,
for him to remain quiet, still, to stand when
hungry, to sleep when tired. To do as he did.

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