Once I thought there was no blue in nature
except the sky—I thought Nature couldn’t make
a blue fiower, or tree, or creature.

I was young and hadn’t looked at anything—

that was before I knew delphiniums
and morning glories, before I’d heard the blue jays,
or recognized the steadfast spruce trees,

or knew about Nabokov’s butterflies.

Before my blue cat, I didn’t know color
has its own vocabulary in every language:
his mother was a Russian Blue,

and often, when I’d been out a while,
the delirious syllables of his blueness
would amaze me at the door—

it’s always so hard to remember color exactly . . .

His coat couldn’t be described by any synonyms
or tropes for gray, not mist or fog,
not colorless, not ash—

although I’ve buried his ashes in the pitch-
dark shade of our yard where hot summer days
he loved to lie, happy

to be cool yet close to me,

and I’m going to plant a juniper nearby,
not really to remind me, but that every autumn
the place where he lay might be