Author: Michelle Lerner

When I turned twelve I had a slumber party
to celebrate my birthday.
Seven girls came to my house
sleeping bags in tow.
We had a dinner of spaghetti and ice cream cake
played guessing games and gossiped in the den
until the girls got into their pajamas
to get ready
for bed.
Then my mother and I left the house
for thirty minutes
to visit my horse Shire
down the hill,
to feed him and to clean his stall
before turning in for bed.
And that was where
I found the kitten
the size of my small fist,
tiny and black
with crusty eyes
mewing at my feet.
We brought her home and gave her milk
let her loose
in the basement with us girls
where she became the center of the party
moving around between sleeping bags all night.
We named her Perceval, thinking her a boy,
and every twelve year old
promised to adopt her.
But in the morning when the mothers came
they shook their heads
and piled their daughters
into their cars,
and we were left with the kitten,
my mom and I,
renamed her Persephone,
the daughter of Demeter,
the daughter in need
of being found.